Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can physical ailments really just be in your head?"
I seem to have a lot of little health problems all the time, like this hurts or that does or I have a cough or I lose my voice. Every time I go to the doctor though, everything is normal. Could my physical problems just be in my head? I think its called psycho-somatic?
First of all, it is certainly possible that you just are experiencing the same aches and pains as other people get. Similarly, everyone gets laryngitis or colds or coughs from time to time, and is natural to go and see the doctor for these concerns. It is pretty common for things to be getting better by the time you go to see the doctor. For example, if you have a common cold which lasts five or six days, you will typically not see the doctor until having waited things out for a few days - then, by the time you get an appointment and get in, the symptoms are getting better! There is something called somatization, which involves a process by which our bodies process stress, anxiety, and other psychological problems as physical symptoms like headache, nausea, aches and pains, etc. To some degree, all of us have some somatization, and this is normal. If, however, you feel that the amount of symptoms you experience are more than those that others experience, or if they are interfering with your life, then it would be something to talk to your doctor about. Often somatization problems will response to counseling, stress management, and other similar approaches.