Your pain is real. The solution is, too.

Many years of clinical experience and considerable recent research has shown that stress, trauma and repressed emotions are capable of causing persistent real pain and other physical symptoms.  This is what we call a Psychophysiologic Disorder (aka PPD or MindBody Disorder).  Unfortunately, there is no conclusive diagnostic test for this condition so the single most common question patients have is whether their personal symptoms could be caused by PPD.  This page is designed to help you with this question.

Please look at the 30 questions below.  The more questions to which you answer ‘yes’, the more likely it is that PPD is contributing to your symptoms.

  1. Has your doctor completed diagnostic testing without finding a definite cause for your symptom(s).

  2. Do you have more than one symptom? (the more you have, the more likely PPD is involved)

  3. Are your symptoms located in different areas of the body?

  4. Are these symptoms different in type? (for example, headache and abdominal bloating)

  5. Did the symptom begin with no obvious trigger or cause?

  6. If the symptom began after an injury, has it persisted long after the injury should have healed? (healing of most physical injury is complete in 6 weeks or less.)

  7. Does your symptom move or migrate to different body locations over time?

  8. Do your symptoms have the quality of tingling, electric shock, burning, numbness, heat or cold?

  9. Are your symptoms more or less intense depending on the time of day, or occur first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night?

  10. Do your symptoms occur after, but not during, activity or exercise?

  11. Are your symptoms triggered by or increased by stress or thinking about stressful situations?

  12. Are your symptoms less severe or less frequent when you are engaged in enjoyable or distracting activities, such as vacation?

  13. Are your symptoms less severe or less frequent when you are in an environment that feels safe for you?

  14. Are your symptoms less severe or non-existent after physical treatment such as massage, chiropractic, Reiki, acupuncture, or after an herbal or vitamin supplement?

  15. Are your symptoms triggered by foods, smells, sounds, light, computer screens, menses, changes in the weather or specific movements?

  16. Are your symptoms triggered by the anticipation of stress, such as prior to school, work, a doctor’s visit, a medical test, a visit to a relative, or a social gathering or during those activities?

  17. Are your symptoms triggered by simply imagining engaging in the triggering activity, such as bending over, turning the neck, sitting or standing?

  18. Are your symptoms triggered by light touch or gentle stimuli, such as the wind or cold?

  19. Did you have adverse experiences in childhood that you would not want a child of your own to have? 

  20. Would you describe yourself as highly detail oriented or a perfectionist?

  21. Do you care for the needs of so many other people that you have difficulty including yourself among those for whom you care?

  22. Is it highly important to you to please others or be seen as good by others?

  23. Are you often more critical of yourself than others are?

  24. Are people who caused stress for you as a child still active in your life?

  25. As an adult, have you been in close relationships with people outside your original family to whom you gave more of yourself than you received in return? Did any of these people place heavy demands on you, try to control you, threaten you or harm you?

  26. Did your symptoms begin soon after a terrifying, traumatic or horrifying event or after a triggering event that is linked to a trauma?

  27. Over the course of your life, have you had other physical symptoms that your physician struggled to diagnose?

  28. In the past or present, have you had an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia), an addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, work, gambling, shopping, exercise) or engaged in self-cutting behavior?

  29. Do you have worry, anxiety or fear out of proportion to any reason to have those?

  30. Do you suffer from depression, sleeping difficulty, fatigue, loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activity or thoughts about ending your life?(If so, let your physician know right away.)

Common Medical Conditions Caused By Stress

As suggested by several of the questions above, the more symptoms you have, the more places in your body they’re located, and the more variable they are in severity over time, then the more likely it is that Psychophysiologic Disorder (aka PPD or MindBody Disorder) is a contributing factor. Conditions that commonly have a significant contribution from PPD include (but are not limited to) those listed below:

Chronic pain symptoms

Tension headaches
Migraine headaches
Back pain
Neck pain
Knee pain
Patellofemoral syndrome
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
Chronic abdominal and pelvic pain syndromes
Chronic tendonitis (in any joint)
Piriformis syndrome
Repetitive strain injury
Foot pain syndromes
Myofascial pain syndrome
Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)

Autonomic nervous system disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome
Interstitial cystitis (Irritable bladder syndrome)
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
Inappropriate sinus tachycardia
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (Complex regional pain syndrome)

Other conditions that can occur in patients with ppd

Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Eating disorders
Substance use disorders

other symptoms

Some patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), (aka Myalgic Encephalitis or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease*)
Paresthesias (numbness, tingling, burning)
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Globus sensation
Burning chest pain (resembles acid reflux)
Difficulty breathing
Chronic cough
Spastic dysphonia
Chronic hives
Hypersensitivity syndromes (to touch, sound, smells, foods, medications)

* Systemic exertion intolerance disease has been identified by the Institutes of Medicine as an organic disorder. There remains controversy about this disorder and its relation to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

PPD does NOT include:

Rheumatoid conditions


Since structural disease processes can also cause the symptoms on this list, it is important to first rule out serious medical conditions with your doctor. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to pursue conservative, emotional therapy-based treatment that is recommended for PPD.

There is hope

Despite the discomfort and serious nature of these symptoms, PPD does not damage your organ tissue or body structure and you no longer have to settle for just managing your chronic pain or other symptoms. Psychophysiologic Disorders are BENIGN and CURABLE!

  • Learn more about PPD and which groups of people are prone to it

  • Find out whether you may have PPD

  • Find a PPD practitioner near you to get diagnosed and treated

Your road to recovery begins now! Learn more by clicking the button below.