How Past Trauma Is Linked to Current Pain
Everyone understands the association between physical injuries and physical pain, but psychological trauma can also be linked to physical pain. Trauma is a reaction to an overwhelming incident that is felt in both the mind and the body. It can come from a one-time event or repeated exposure to certain circumstances.
Traumatic events are those that cause a person to believe that their life, a loved one’s life, or personal boundaries are threatened. Examples of traumatic experiences include abuse, assault, combat, auto accidents, abandonment, witnessing violence, and natural disasters.
Trauma disrupts psychological function by putting the nervous system into a persistent state of reactivity. This state can cause the mind to struggle with current physical and emotional pain because it is working so hard to handle the trauma that has occurred in the past.
Both emotional pain and physical pain are processed by activating the same two areas of the brain, so negative emotions and experiences can trigger physical pain for some people. Many who deal with chronic pain have endured trauma in their past, so both their physical discomfort and psychological harm may need to be addressed when pursuing a solution for pain.
Dealing With Trauma
People are affected differently by trauma. Certain people have an immediate emotional and physical reaction to a traumatic event, while others can remain numb to it until months or years later. Trauma has a profound impact on a person’s emotions, behavior, and relationships, but it can be worked through. The following treatment options can be considered when dealing with trauma.
Seeking emotional support – Talking about trauma with a trusted family member or friend can provide validation and empathy. The comfort of others can provide the strength needed to cope with emotions instead of fixating on them.
Seeking out a therapist – A trained therapist will create a safe environment and help make sense of reactions and emotions to reframe what happened and help you move past it. Talking about the trauma allows the therapist to redirect false assumptions you may be making, such as assuming that the trauma is your fault or that you can never trust anyone again. Strategies that will equip you for responding to future trauma can also be learned.
Seeking self-care – Reducing stress by taking care of yourself physically and emotionally can put you in a better position to confront and heal from trauma. Exercise, meditation, keeping a journal, or making time for hobbies and activities you enjoy are some measures you can take to promote well-being and good health.
How Jersey Premier Pain Can Help
Since emotional distress can sometimes be perceived as physical pain, treatment must integrate strategies for addressing both areas. Learning more about the source of your pain may speed up the healing process and lead to an outcome of long-term freedom from trauma-induced pain. Jersey Premier Pain can assist you with pain management and help you understand how your past trauma may be influencing your current discomfort. Please contact us online or by calling 201-386-8800 to schedule an appointment.