Understanding Persistent Pain: Yes, It's in Your Head. Everything Is.

You may have thought, or had someone say to you that your pain is, “just in your head.”

Which can feel invalidating, frustrating, or even condescending.

But, it’s also true. But, it’s also true for everything.

Our brains are given information from the nervous system and then it determines what sensations, thoughts, and reactions it believes to be appropriate.

Pain doesn't actually exist at your knee, your back, or your feet.

It exists in the brain, as a response to all the information it's given: signals from nerves, emotional reactions from you or others, the history and sensitivity of pain, and the environment you find yourself in... to name a few.

Saying that something is “just in your head,” does not make it unreal. It’s as a real as it gets.

Understanding Pain Article Series

Understanding Persistent Pain: 3 Major Influencers

Understanding Persistent Pain: The Hair-Trigger Alarm

Understanding Persistent Pain: Yes It's All In Your Head. Everything Is.

Understanding Persistent Pain: Lowered Thresholds

Understanding Persistent Pain: It's Like Four Flat Tires

Understanding Persistent Pain: What About "Pain Is Gain?"

Understanding Persistent Pain: Mindfulness Understanding Persistent Pain: It's An Experience, Not a Signal

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Understanding Persistent Pain eBook

The nervous system is constantly evaluating a variety of cues and information that when combined create a pain experience. It's a complex process involving many parts of the mind and body. This guide will provide readers with a better understanding of persistent pain along with tools to reduce or manage it. learn more...


Hey there! My name's Raechel. I'm the author of The Bodies We Live In blog. I'm also a licensed massage therapist and owner of Massage Sci in Holland, Michigan.


In my free time, I enjoy writing about wellness; researching pain science; trying to grow things in my garden; being far too fond of semi-colons; and avid sci-fi nerding.