I work a lot with people who suffer from emotional stress as well as a physical condition or pain. Lately I have noticed more and more that almost all cases involve a traumatic event in childhood, and I decided to do a little research about the connection. It’s not a scientific article, but it does have some interesting facts.
Chronic pain and conditions are characterized by a healing process that takes longer than the natural recovery process. People with post-traumatic stress disorder are most at risk of developing these pains and conditions.
Researchers have been researching the mind-body connection for decades looking for links between emotions and health. They already found that 15-30% of patients diagnosed with chronic disease also suffer from PTSD.
Recent studies have shown that the root cause of chronic pain is not only physical injury, but also stress and emotional trauma. We already know that stress can lead to physiological problems such as headaches, stomach aches, and an irritable bowel. But stress can also cause other physical problems and chronic pain simply because a stressed person is more tense.
“Trauma occurs when our ability to respond to a perceived threat is overwhelming”
– Peter Levine (trauma expert)
Some researchers do not agree with this definition of trauma, but it is now generally accepted that trauma can cause physiological symptoms such as pain, nightmares, flashbacks, numbness, and avoidance behavior.
“Whether or not trauma was related to the event or condition that caused their pain, having a chronic pain is traumatizing in and of itself. And because our nervous system goes into survival mode during a traumatic event, it can be difficult to recover.”
– Maggie Phillips (author of “Reversing Chronic Pain”)
“Research has shown that, under normal circumstances, many traumatized people, including rape victims, abused women and abused children, have a fairly good psychosocial adjustment. However, they do not respond to stress like other people. Under pressure, they may feel (or act) as if they have been traumatized again.”
– Bessel van der Kolk (trauma expert)
Although the research into the links between emotional stress, physical pain/physical disorders and trauma is not yet complete, I recognize the above insights in my clients. It reinforces my view that it is critical to interrupt the belief that arose during the traumatic event. It increases my motivation to help as many people as possible with this.