Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What does it mean for pain to be psychosomatic?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean for pain to be psychosomatic?


What does psychosomatic mean? My friend said my pain in my leg could be that. Does that just mean its all in my head? 27 year old female here.


Psychosomatic is a term used to describe pain for which no physical injury or malady can be found. More specifically, It is pain that is felt (in other words it is real) that occurs as a side effect of emotional distress. Psychosomatic pain is extremely common.

See a doctor who can help

Find Primary care doctors near you

It occurs in conjunction with emotional disturbances such as depression, bereavement of a lost loved one, extreme stress, and many other psychological stressors. Some experts think that the pain felt associated with these stressors is the mind's way of expressing internal problems. Psychosomatic pain can only be diagnosed by a physician. To diagnose this type of pain, you first need to undergo an evaluation for physical (somatic) causes of the pain including injury or inflammation. If nothing is found, then the possibility of psychosomatic pain can be entertained. It often takes many months of following a patient's condition to tell for sure that the pattern of pain is consistent with psychosomatic pain. Thus, your friend's diagnosis does not hold much weight from my stand point. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. discuss your pain with him or her and bring up the possibility that you pain is psychosomatic. Your doctor will know immediately if your symptoms could be this type of pain, but it could be sometime before you know for sure.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.