Howard Schubiner likes to say that all pain is in your head. That even if you stub your toe, the pain is processed in your brain.
The term "in your head" generally implies that the pain is imaginary. I’ve always found the idea that some pain is considered real and some pain isn’t rather bizarre. Pain is pain, and it is always real.
A study at the University of Pittsburgh investigated this very phenomenon. Researchers used an electrical device to induce pain in a group of subjects. While doing so, they watched the pain center of their brains on an fMRI machine to see what areas lit up. Then, they took the same subjects, hypnotized them, and induced pain through suggestion. The same areas of the brain lit up!
They showed that whether the pain was induced physically or induced through hypnosis, the sensation was the same as far as the brain was concerned.
Pain is pain, and it is always real, regardless of whether it's induced physically or hypnotically, regardless of whether it's caused by structural damage to the body or neural pathways in the brain.