Trauma and Pain: How emotional events can be related to pain.
Recently, a new patient emphatically stated: “This is a physical issue, it has absolutely nothing to do with my emotions”. I’d like to share how emotional challenges (as well as chemical and physical ones) can compromise our body’s ability to heal and to thrive, sometimes resulting in physical pain.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition recognizes how multiple aspects are connected in creating your overall state of health.
We all have overloads in life; some people call these “traumas”. By “overload”, I mean any experience that you are not able to integrate and adapt to in that moment; these then become stored in the body in the form of tension. They may be physical overloads: sports or other injuries, sudden change in activity, car accident, or bad ergonomics. They may be chemical overloads: something we breathe in, eat or drink, put on our bodies, or use in our home or yard (this would also include sensitivities to food, caffeine, chemicals, drugs, pollens, and dehydration, viruses, bacteria, mold, etc.). Lastly, overloads may be emotional: big or sudden stressors such as divorce, conflict, confrontation, moving away from community, assault, abuse, death of a loved one, or ongoing stressors such as pressure at work, home, or school, as well as feeling stuck in a difficult situation, or having fear or concern about the larger world, such as politics, human rights, the environment, or global health.
Tension stored from the overloads of life compromises our body’s internal communication systems. When our body can’t coordinate itself properly, information between the brain and the body is not properly delivered or received and this seriously limits our capacity for healing and for health.
- Efficiency in any of the body’s activities
- Adaptability and flexibility with challenges
- Resiliency in being able to bounce back and recover from overloads
- Capacity to clean, renew, repair, and heal
- Perception of the world around us
- Reactions to events and experiences
- Ability to be present, calm, and grounded
- Ease in healing
- Expression of our unique gifts in the world
- Ability to thrive
So, when function is compromised, we can have any kind of symptom: back pain, insomnia, digestive trouble, depression, headache, low immune function, recurrent injuries, anxiety, vertigo, skin rash, muscle twitches, and many more...
In order to optimize your health, holistic providers consider ALL the types of overloads you have experienced. Then, by working with you to help reduce the amount of stored tension in your body, we are simply helping your body to re-engage with what it knows how to do: express it’s capacity to coordinate healing and create higher levels of health: physically, chemically, emotionally -this inherently includes mental, social, and (for some) spiritual health. The primary intention that I bring to all patient care is to do everything I can to help your body optimize its ability to heal. I absolutely take the big picture view that all aspects of health are relevant to healing. I have found this to be the most effective way to help people to truly heal, and be more comfortable, whole, and able to express their gifts in the world.
Here are a few interviews that explore research, theory, and protocol for dealing with trauma (of any kind) stored in the body in order to optimize health and decrease physical pain: