Counselor Skeetz Edinger calls this article from Psychology Today “Important Stuff.” He notes that when issues of emotion or psychology are brought into the discussion on pain, people can become very defensive as they feel they’re being told they’re imagining their pain or making it up. While we don’t imagine our physical pain, that doesn’t remove our brains from the discussion all together.

“Neuroscience research reveals that negative emotions, catastrophic thoughts, and unhealthy coping behaviors actually amplify pain, exacerbate symptoms, and keep you stuck in a cycle of fear, inactivity, misery, and pain. Said another way: stress, anxiety, depression, catastrophic thinking, negative predictions, focusing on pain, social withdrawal, lack of exercise, and activity avoidance all make pain worse.”