“Almost any symptom can be caused by [mind body syndrome (MBS)], just as any symptom can be caused by a medical or structural problem. Over the years, I have seen people with a variety of unusual symptoms that are due to MBS, such as burning of the mouth, ears, hands, or feet, tingling or electric sensations of almost any body part. Sensations caused by the brain are real, they are caused by neural circuits that are real; they can be powerful and we experience them in a very real way. However, if we can understand that MBS sensations are not dangerous, that our brain is producing them, we can then be much more confident in taking the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate them. We can change these neural circuits and that is the basis of this book. If a careful medical evaluation does not show any clear pathologic process, then the symptoms in these conditions are likely caused by a vicious cycle of nerve connections that have been learned by the mind and body.”
—Howard Schubiner with Michael Betzold, Unlearn Your Pain, Fourth Edition
I was astonished to learn, through reading this book, that mind body syndrome (sometimes called chronic pain) can cause such a large variety of conditions, that it seems there is almost no type of havoc that the brain cannot singlehandedly wreak.
(Ha, “singlehandedly” was a funny word to use in that sentence. But you know what I mean.)
Obviously, many conditions are not caused by mind body syndrome. Heart disease, cancer, infectious diseases, diabetes, and broken bones, just to name a few, are based in the physical body and require medical treatment. But I’d like to share a list of conditions that can, according to Schubiner and Betzold, be caused by mind body syndrome. As always, I must state the disclaimer that many of these conditions can have a physical cause, so it’s important to look at the evidence comprehensively to determine the reason behind any given condition.
Conditions that may be due to mind body syndrome:
- Pain anywhere in the body
- Headaches, including migraines
- Abdominal, esophageal, and gastrointestinal issues, including GERD and IBS
- Fatigue, including ME/CFS
- Eating disorders
- Brain fog
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
- Long Covid
- And many more conditions
The brain can give us these conditions.
It can also give us relief from them.
Isn’t it incredible that the brain has such power?