Senior Woman Suffering From Backache Getting Out Of Bed


Patients suffering from PPD can greatly benefit from utilizing the educational resources below. With a proper diagnosis being the first step toward recovery, education about the PPD diagnosis is the second and equally necessary step!

Learning about PPD and fully understanding what does and, more importantly, what does NOT cause your symptoms and why is the process by which you can begin to eliminate your PPD symptoms by treating it at the source. Remember, PPD symptoms are real and debilitating and while it’s NOT “all in your head”, the origin of your symptoms begins in your brain.

To find a doctor/therapist who can diagnose and treat PPD, click here to view our directory.

doctor treating a patient, health professionals

health professionals

Health professionals (and the curious non-professional) can benefit from our educational resources and cited research to understand this evidence-based approach to treating chronic pain and functional syndromes.

The first stage of any new field of science is observation.  The books listed below describe clinical experience with thousands of PPD patients.  Written by clinicians from diverse training and practice backgrounds, these thoughtful summaries are an essential foundation for hypotheses that can be tested by randomized clinical trials, which are currently underway.

These observations also inform study of the physiology of PPD.  With fMRI scanning of the central nervous system, we at last have a tool that is beginning to unravel the anatomic and physiologic basis of PPD symptoms.

We expect scientific understanding of PPD to continue its growth.  As new research is published, we will add to the scientific reports listed below. We also offer continued medical education courses both in-person and online.

Do you have hidden stress?

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Our screening test will help you determine if hidden stress can be a factor in causing your medically unexplained symptoms. Developed by David Clarke, MD (PPDA President).

download the hidden stress screening test

Guide for Health Professionals

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Our guide for health professionals “How to Talk with Your Patients about Psychophysiologic Disorder (PPD) Symptoms” is a must read for all health professionals. Your patients will thank you for it. Developed by Alicia Batson, MD (PPDA Board) and David Clarke, MD (PPDA President).

download our guide

Online Course

PPDA online continued education course about psychophysiologic disorders for health professionals

Our online continued medical education course about PPD was created for health professionals but is also a useful recovery resource for patients.

learn more and watch the first module

Mobile App

Curable ad.png - a mobile app for treating mind-body disorders at the level between a great PPD book and a session with a PPD Practitioner. Several of the PPDA Board members are also Scientific Advisory Board members of Curable.


Alphabetical by author:

Hidden From View Dr. Howard Schubiner book cover.jpg

Hidden From View by Alan Abbass, MD, and Howard Schubiner, MD. (2018) Using cutting edge psychotherapeutic and neurophysiologic principles, Hidden From View explains how the brain developed neural pathways that cause symptoms, such as headaches, irritable bowel and bladder syndrome, fibromyalgia, fatigue, insomnia, and chronic neck and back pain. It illustrates powerful emotion focused interviewing techniques to both detect and treat psychophysiologic disorders. Hidden From View empowers physicians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists and coaches to understand and diagnose psychophysiologic disorders, and provide educational, cognitive-behavioral, and emotion focused therapies. This will help your patients eliminate, rather than simply cope with, these conditions.

The Hidden Psychology of Pain Dr. James Alexander book cover.jpg

The Hidden Psychology of Pain by James Alexander PhD.  (2012). The author's life was redefined by a tragic car accident followed by chronic physical and emotional trauma. Now pain-free, Dr Alexander has dedicated the last three decades of his life to helping others overcome similar challenges. His success is proof that recovery from chronic pain is possible.

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Pathways to Pain Relief by Frances Sommer Anderson PhD and Eric Sherman PsyD.  (2013) A book for therapists and the public summarizing decades of experience diagnosing and treating PPD.  Available in paperback or for the Amazon Kindle (or Kindle app).

They Can't Find Anything Wrong book.jpg

They Can't Find Anything Wrong! by David Clarke, MD. (2007) Uses dozens of case histories to illustrate the many hidden life stresses that can cause physical symptoms. Discusses effective treatment techniques in detail.  All author profits are donated to the PPD Association.

Back in Control Dr. David Hansom book cover.jpg

Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, 2nd Edition by David Hanscom, MD.  (2012). Focuses on an aspect of chronic pain that the medical world has largely overlooked: you must calm your nervous system in order to get better. Has helped hundreds of patients.

Childhood Disrupted Donna Jackson Nakazawa book cover.jpg

Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. (2015) Shows the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and adult illnesses such as PPD, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer—Childhood Disrupted also explains how to cope with these emotional traumas and even heal from them.

Chronic Pain Your Key to Recovery Georgie Oldfield book cover.jpg

Chronic Pain: Your Key to Recovery by Georgie Oldfield. (2014)  Reveals how very real, and even debilitating pain, can frequently be caused by our brain in response to repressed emotions as a result of current and even past experiences.

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Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by John Sarno, MD. (1991) Dr. John E. Sarno's groundbreaking research on TMS (Tension Myoneural Syndrome) reveals how stress and other psychological factors can cause back pain-and how you can be pain free without drugs, exercise, or surgery.

The Divided Mind Dr. John Sarno

The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders by John Sarno, MD. (2007) The Divided Mind is the crowning achievement of Dr. John E. Sarno's distinguished career as a groundbreaking medical pioneer, going beyond pain to address the entire spectrum of psychosomatic (mindbody) disorders.

The Mindbody Prescription Dr. John Sarno

The Mindbody Prescription by John Sarno, MD.  (1999) Reveals how many painful conditions- including most neck and back pain, migraine, repetitive stress injuries, whiplash and tendonitis- are rooted in repressed emotions and shows how they can be successfully treated without drugs, physical measures or surgery.

Think Away Your Pain Dr. David Schechter book cover.jpg

Think Away Your Pain by David Schechter MD. (2014)  You will learn how chronic pain becomes a condition of the brain as much as the body. Shows you how to use the immense power of your thoughts and beliefs to literally change the neural circuitry of your brain.

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Unlearn Your Anxiety & Depression by Howard Schubiner, MD. (2016) Using cutting-edge research, this book demonstrates that the underlying reason for the majority of anxiety and depression is sensitization of certain areas of the brain and learned neural pathways. Dr. Schubiner has used this new understanding to develop a unique program to actually reverse anxiety and depression. By reading this book, you'll be able to determine if you have this syndrome and how to overcome it. The program in this book gives instruction on emotional processing, therapeutic writing exercises, and everything else you need to unlearn your anxiety and depression. Access to online audio meditation exercises is included with purchase. Note: The final 7 chapters and the audio meditations are identical to that of Unlearn Your Pain, third edition. You can obtain the first 5 chapters on the kindle version.

Unlearn Your Pain book cover.jpg

Unlearn Your Pain by Howard Schubiner, MD.  (3rd Edition 2015) Reversing chronic pain is possible by understanding its underlying cause. This book explains that most pain is due to learned nerve pathways. It helps you determine if you have PPD and how to cure your pain with a revolutionary step-by-step process.

Online PPD Recovery Programs

The following online recovery programs use informal terms for Psychophysiologic Disorders (PPD) which are Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS), Stress Illness and Mind-Body.

TMS Wiki logo

The TMS Wiki's Structured Educational Program

The TMS Wiki has a free Structured Educational Program, developed entirely by people who have recovered from PPD. Based on the techniques other peers used to heal, this six-week program combines educational activities with journaling and has built-in peer support using the Structured Educational Program subforumClick here to go to the program.

Alan Gordon, LCSW Online Recovery Program

Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery Program

The TMS Wiki hosts a free TMS Recovery Program, developed by Alan Gordon, LCSW (PPDA Board). Focusing on self-compassion, this multimedia recovery program adds clips of recorded sessions between Alan and individual PPD patients into the written content. Click here to go to the program.


Dr. David Schechter's PPD Home Educational Program

Dr. David Schechter has a structured PPD home educational program that has been used for over 20 years by over 30,000 individuals. It consists of a workbook, an audioprogram and a video. The workbook guides you through a 30 day program of journaling, generally asking you four questions per day that you respond to in writing.

Howard Schubiner Mind Body Program

Dr. Howard Schubiner's Online Mind-Body Program

Dr. Howard Schubiner (PPDA Board) has a well regarded four-week program that he runs through his website. More details are available here.

SIRPA logo

SIRPA Recovery Program

Georgie Oldfield, MCSP, physiotherapist and founder of SIRPA (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioner's Association) in the United Kingdom, developed a five-week online recovery program that, among other things, includes an eight chapter online manual, interactive worksheets, and access to a discussion forum to interact with other SIRPA participants as well as with Georgie. More details are available here

Video Web Series

David Clarke, MD and Jessica Shahinian. PPDA

PPD Association - our web series that includes videos about the PPDA and our work, as well as a preview of our online continued medical education course about PPD (mindbody disorders). Help us reach our goal of 1000 YouTube subscribers so we can be eligible for free access to the YouTube Space production studios. This will allow us to create more CME courses and recovery resources.

GotPainCure video series

GotPainCure - an engaging web series by Jessica Shahinian (PPDA Outreach Director) on how to diagnose and treat PPD (aka Tension Myoneural Syndrome) with bright illustrations that make this series easy to watch and share. Jessica also shares how she made a rapid recovery from over 20 PPD symptoms that threatened to end not only her dance career, but also her life!


Feelings & Stuff - a playful web series about mind-body medicine hosted by two psychotherapists at the Pain Psychology Center, Daniel Lyman, LCSW, and Christie Uipi, MSW.


Listed alphabetically: - created by Alicia Batson, MD - created by David Hanscom, MD - a mobile app for treating mind-body disorders at the level between a great PPD book and a session with a PPD Practitioner. Several of the PPDA Board members are also Scientific Advisory Board members of Curable. - created by Howard Schubiner, MD, and Hal Greenham, BSc. This company provides online PPD recovery programs for patients at three different pricing levels.

Medical Myopia and Common Sense - blog post by Dr. Schubiner commenting on several recent publications in the news media and scientific journals. - created by David Schechter, MD - created by Alan Gordon, LCSW, PPDA Co-Founder - created by Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, and Eric Sherman, PsyD - created by David Schechter, MD - the Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners Association founded by Georgie Oldfield, MCSP. SIRPA, like the PPDA, also educates health professionals on how to diagnose and treat PPD and provides patient resources (for-profit business). - created by David Clarke, MD, PPDA President - funded by the TMS/PPD Peer Network, a nonprofit, created and run by Forest Smith, MA, MS, PPDA Vice President. The TMS Wiki focuses on TMS (aka PPD) recovery success stories as a healing resource for patients, with lots of forums for patients to share their stories and ask questions with a TMS/PPD practitioner monthly. Alan Gordon’s free pain recovery program is also available as one of many resources. - created by Howard Schubiner, MD, PPDA Co-Founder

Published Research

Briefly annotated, alphabetical by last name:

  1. Anderson FS. (2017). It Was Not Safe to Feel Angry: Disrupted Early Attachment and the Development of Chronic Pain in Later Life. Attachment 11 (3), 223-241.

  2. Baliki, et. al. Nature Neuroscience, July 1, 2012. doi:10.1038/nn.3153.  People with an acute back injury had brain imaging.  Activation of areas associated with emotional reactivity predicted those who were more likely to develop chronic back pain.

  3. Burns JW. Emotion, 2006, Vol.6, 309–319.  Changes in muscle activity in the back occur with anger recall in those with chronic back pain.

  4. Chou, et. al., Spine, 2009, 34: 1078–1093.  Evidence on the efficacy of epidural injections specifically for spinal stenosis, low back pain without radiculopathy, or failed back surgery syndrome is sparse and inconclusive, but showed no clear benefit.

  5. Christensen, et. al. Eur J Pain, 2012, 16: 921–933.  This study demonstrated cross-sectional and prospective factors linked to severity of back pain. The most robust predictors were decision control, empowering leadership and fair leadership.  Physical workload, using one’s arms at or above the shoulders, and chronicity of physical work were not connected to the development of back pain at a 2-year follow up.

  6. Clarke DD. (2016). Diagnosis and Treatment of Medically Unexplained Symptoms and Chronic Functional Syndromes.  Families, Systems, & Health, Vol 34(4), Dec 2016, 309-316.   Review of an approach to patients with PPD based on detailed interviews with over 7000 patients.

  7. Goodwin, Hoven, Murison, & Hotopf, 2003; Sumanen, Rantala, & Sillanmäki, 2007; Latthe, Mignini, Gray, Hills, & Khan, 2006; Meltzer-Brody et al., 2007; Mayer, Naliboff, Chang, & Coutinho, 2001.  Childhood adversities (divorce, family conflict, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc.) and adulthood experience of conflict and victimization are elevated in people with migraine headaches, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder), pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome.

  8. Hsu, Schubiner, et. al. J Gen Int Med. 2010; 25: 1064-1070. Randomized, controlled trial of affective self-awareness for fibromyalgia.  Individuals with fibromyalgia were treated with PPD methods and had lower rates of pain after a 6-month follow up than a wait-list control group.

  9. Kross, E., et. al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  2011, 108:6270-6275.  On functional MRI imaging, these researchers found that emotional pain and physical pain activate the same brain regions.  This suggests that physical pain can cause emotional pain and vice versa.

  10. Kutch JJ et al. Brain signature and functional impact of centralized pain: a multidisciplinary approach to the study of chronic pelvic pain (MAPP) network study. PAIN: October 2017 - Volume 158 - Issue 10 - p 1979–1991. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001001. fMRI was used to look at people with pelvic pain who also had pain elsewhere and compared them with fibromyalgia patients and a pain-free control group. Both pain groups showed increased brain gray matter volume and functional connectivity involving the sensorimotor and insular cortices but the pain-free controls did not.  The author's conclusion is that patients are much more likely to benefit from treatments that affect the central nervous system rather than treatments that are aimed at the pelvic region.

  11. RD Lane, FS Anderson, R Smith. (2018). Biased competition favoring physical over emotional pain: a possible explanation for the link between early adversity and chronic pain. Psychosomatic medicine 80 (9), 880-890.

  12. Lumley MA, Schubiner H, et. al. Pain, 2017 Dec; 158(12):2354-2363. Emotional awareness and expression therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and education for fibromyalgia: a cluster-randomized controlled trial.

  13. Malik, Spine, 2004, 29: E315–E317. Of people who sustained severe injuries after motor vehicle accidents, only 5% ( 2 of 36) developed a whiplash-type pain disorder in a British study.

  14. Schofferman, et. al. Spine, 1992, 17:S138-44.  Success in lumbar spine surgery is based upon the degree of childhood trauma.  In those with no childhood trauma, 95% were successful; in those with mild childhood trauma, 73% were successful; and in those with significant to severe childhood trauma, only 15% were successful.

  15. Uomoto JM, et. al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1993, 74: 61-64.  Headache in those with moderate to severe head injury was 18%, compared to 89% in mild head injury.  Neck and shoulder pain was 4% versus 51%; back pain was 2% versus 45%, and other pain was 2% versus 20%.  Why should this be?  The next study in our list provides a possible explanation.