I had absolutely debilitating pain in a hip joint as if I had a handful of needles loose in there. I had it for several months, I had an MRI, a bone scan, tried physio, acupuncture and what have you with zero effect. At some point got a "procedure" scheduled for some sort of steroid injection directly into the spine column and was prescribed some nasty anti-inflammatory pills to "prep" for the thing (but in the end decided against the whole thing). The only thing that helped _a bit_ were the 600 mg Ibuprofen pills.
In any case, saw this book recommended here on HN, picked it up, read a quarter and realized that it applied. I was under an enormous stress at the time, both on work and personal fronts. On the work side I was running a one-man project with several thousand active daily users. On the personal end we just had a kid and the massive lifestyle change that came with it. A couple of days after realizing that the stress might've been the cause of the pain, the pain disappeared. Just - poof, gone. This was over 10 years ago and it never came back. The end.
I started having back issues about five years ago. It got so bad that getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L4/L5. I tried chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy to no avail. Then I came across one of Sarno's books. I remembered Howard Stern singing his praises years ago on his show, so I decided to at least give it a shot. I was very skeptical, but within the first twenty pages Sarno had described my situation to a tee. I started following his advice and saw immediate results. I was back to running and doing yoga within a few days and a couple weeks later I was back in the gym doing dead lifts. Aside from an occasional flare up during stressful periods, I haven't had any issues since then.
However, I don't agree with Sarno's view that the mind uses pain as a diversion from psychological or emotional issues. I think it uses to pain as a way to get our attention, to let us know that we need to deal with those underlying issues.
The brain activity that people think of as being "just psychosomatic" is actual, physical changes that causes both direct perception of pain within the brain itself and also changes in the rest of the body that result in peripheral pain.
Stress doesn't just make you imagine you have joint pain, it actually causes it directly in measurable ways. Catecholamines are extremely powerful and if you start cranking them out because you're stressed, everything works worse, which often results in pain, which is of course an additional stressor.
Although to be a pedant, tooth drilling is apparently not quite nociceptive as it's the nerve being vibrated that causes an intense sensation that's easy to interpret as 'pain', I try and think about fireworks instead...