A recent study conducted at the Center on an Aging Society at Georgetown University found that back pain is the most common cause of workdays lost in the US. It is the 2ndmost common cause of visits to the doctor’s office and experts estimate that 80% of the population will have a back pain issue at some point in their lives. Not only are we a society in pain, but when it gets bad enough we lose work, money, and then have to pay in an attempt to relieve the pain. Many of us are currently facing these problems and are met with the question of how do I get better and how do I decrease the likelihood that the pain will return. One answer is understanding and breaking the pain cycle.
Evidence suggests that massage and other relaxation therapies can have a substantial impact on the quality of your life. Study after study in patients with everything from breast cancer to arthritis, sports injuries, heart conditions, depression, and learning disorders cite real and positive benefits to receiving regular massage.
In both male and female patients with significant illnesses or traumatic injury, the reduction of stress and relaxation of muscles helps speed recover by reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and increasing the efficiency of blood flow.
Trauma is a “stressful event or events that are ongoing or unpredictable that result in overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety, and helplessness”. Trauma can be caused by natural disasters/events (like tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, flood, explosion) or physical, psychological or emotional injury caused by abuse, neglect and/or willful misconduct.
Everyone responds to traumatic events differently. Children, for example, sometimes deal with trauma is they simply freezing and become unresponsive, their “fight or flight” basic instincts are engaged. Hearts pump, breathing goes rapid and shallow, hands perspire, stomachs tighten. Children lack the ego strengths and cognitive emotional inhibitors necessary to cope with trauma, so they respond with physical hyper-arousal (like ADHD), emotional numbing or reactivity, startle responses, all which can lead to neuro-endocrine abnormalities and developmental delays.
In adults, response to trauma can include aches and pains like headaches & backaches, sudden sweating or heart palpitations, changes in sleep patterns, enhanced startle reflex, fear, anxiety, grief, hyper-alertness, irritability, mood swings, shame, guilt and more. It’s pretty clear that trauma has significant impact on physical and emotional wellness.
Long term effects
In some cases, in both children and adults, trauma can lead to PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) which manifests itself in flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or nightmares, avoidance and emotional numbing, and physical symptoms like elevated heart rate. Those symptoms can be long lasting.