Pain Somatoform Disorder Treatment & Management

Updated: Oct 04, 2013
  • Author: Dolores Protagoras-Lianos, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
  • Print

Medical Care

Medical care for physical illness must be appropriate for the diagnosed medical problems and requires judicious use of analgesics.

Effective mental health treatment for children is family-centered. Goals for therapy include the following [30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35] :

  • Gaining understanding of pain as a product of the interaction of physical and psychological factors

  • Improved family functioning

  • Increased assertiveness in victims of bullying

  • Learning strategies that produce some control over symptoms or reaction to pain, although symptoms may not be eradicated totally

  • Dealing successfully with anxiety generated by pain

  • Decreasing disability caused by pain

  • Limiting medical testing that is not helpful or necessary

Types of treatment include the following:

  • Counseling

  • Relaxation training (eg, progressive muscle relaxation, induced self-hypnosis) [31]

  • Behavioral methods (eg, behavioral-cognitive therapy)

  • Biofeedback

  • Family therapy (eg, focus on communication and appropriate responses)

Comorbid conditions (eg, anxiety, depression) should be treated.



Subspecialist consultations based on suspicion of specific medical disorders include the following:

  • Neurologist (chronic headache pain)

  • Gastroenterologist (chronic abdominal pain)

  • Mental health specialist



Encourage early gradual return to normal activity.