Chronic pain & the connection with stress & trauma

The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain

It has been my experience as a Physiotherapist, and indeed why I decided to explore holistic healing methods such a Kinesiology, that there is often a history of significant trauma or emotional stress in the lives of those who experience chronic pain.

People who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are often at higher risk of developing chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as prolonged physical pain that lasts for longer than the natural healing process should allow. Clinically that is more than 6 weeks. This pain might originate from an injury or inflammation, but many suffer in the absence of a known condition or cause.

Chronic pain can affect movement and hinder normal daily functioning, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. The search for relief in the form of pain medications can compound the problem as these can play havoc with our gut. See GAPS

It is widely acknowledged that emotional stress can bring on a headache or an irritable bowel, but some might be surprised to learn that stress can cause other physical ailments and even chronic pain. Via kinesiology we learn that stress and anxiety lead to the person being in a constant state of fight/flight/survival which causes muscular tension, dehydration, and nutritional deficiencies, all of which can lead to chronic pain.

When our nervous system is constantly in this state, stress hormones such as cortisol are released which increase blood pressure and blood sugar which can in turn decrease the body’s ability to heal itself.

Research has shown stress can trigger previous traumas

According to Dr Bessel van der Kolk, a well know trauma researcher, “Research has shown that, under ordinary conditions, many traumatised people including rape victims, battered women, and abused children have a good psychosocial adjustment. However, they do not respond to stress the way the way other people do. Under pressure, they may feel (or act) as if they were traumatised all over again.”

According to Psychology Today “Often, physical pain functions to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done, and it can also be a sign of unresolved trauma in the nervous system. Even if one has grieved and processed the emotional impact of a trauma, the nervous system might still unwittingly be in survival mode.” And of course, just having chronic pain can be traumatic on its own.

I can help you with your chronic pain

Each person has their own unique history and very few, if any, of us, escape without some form of trauma or significant amounts of emotional stress.

It is my mission and passion as a holistic PhysiotherapistKinesiologist, and Gaps Practitioner that I can assist you to uncover the drivers of your pain and bring balance to the body so it can heal itself. Pain is a signal that your body wants to change.

My unique approach to re-balance your body and health support you to make those changes.

Untreated Chronic Pain can lead to Depression and/or Anxiety.

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