Accidents, PTSD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Accidents, PTSD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The other day I saw someone with persistent problems in the right arm. The symptoms consisted of pain in the arm and shoulder especially around the joints. These problems started after she had broken her wrist after a falling accident.

You might think her post-traumatic stress symptoms are the result of the fall, breaking her hand and the setting of the wrist during operation, but we might have a look at it from another perspective. Bones don’t break so easily unless you fall really awkward and hard. Even then there should be enough resilience in the body and mind to compensate for the shock and additional tension. It is only when there have been stresses already on the bone that an extra stress can result in injury.

How the Body Compensates for Post Traumatic Stress after Surgery

Stresses on bones are caused by muscle tensions that pull the bones out of alignment. This dis-alignment causes an unequal pull on bones and thus puts them under stress. In our case-history example we can question if her symptoms are the result of the accident only or if that is just part of it.

On examining her I notice that the muscle-tendon attachments (onto the bone and joints) on the posterior part of the arm (backside of the arm) are very tense. These different tensions, of the forearm, upper-arm and into the chest area, are connected by connective tissue, fascia. They thus form one tension line throughout the arm into the chest and possibly further along.

When someone comes to see me I always want to hear what is going on in their lives. I am interested in what they are struggling with and what is putting them under stress. This helps me to put the picture together as to how the body stores and processes psychological stresses. Having a good basis of knowledge, through experience, of which emotional stresses go where in the body, is an excellent help in mapping out how mind affects body.

Emotional Stress and Physical Injuries

The lady I was seeing for her arm pains is in her sixties. When people are in that age group you often notice there are several layers of tensions in the body, probably due to what they have collected throughout their lives. You will see this in their body posture very easily and by the feel of it. It makes it harder to be very specific and work with the problem for which they are actually seeking treatment. It is easy to get drawn into complexity, lose overview and lose working through tensions, be them physical or psychological, methodologically. This is a difficulty many body-workers face. You can be sensitive enough to pinpoint tensions in the body but if you fail to have insight into how it all hangs together you will end up breaking up a tension in one spot only for it to pop up somewhere else.

Tensions are layered and interconnected in the body and mind

You’ve got to listen to the information which comes through your hands, what the client tells you and what you pick up with your sixth sense. You have got to see how it is structured, layered and then feel what needs to be done first. Always double checking if an applied manipulation releases and resolves a tension. To be too eager to work and do a lot doesn’t mean there is resolve of the given problem. It might make your client (and your ego) feel good because you’re shifting a lot but if it doesn’t last…. what is the point!

The lady with pain symptoms in her arm and shoulder is sound of mind but has been under stress and very worried due to illness of her daughter and daughter in law for the past year. Persistent worries relate to the duodenum (first part of the small intestines) and this is where I also find tensions. The duodenum is mostly on the right side of the body situated around the belly button. Putting it all together, I have psychological stress in the form of persistent worries over a period of time that translates as physical tension in the duodenum. Tensions of an organ are compensated by tensions in the connective tissues and musculo-skeletal system. Additionally it tenses up the nerves enervating the duodenum. So duodenum tension affects the vagus and indirectly the phrenic nerves, mid-upper neck, possibly affecting the brachial plexus that has nerves running into the right arm. Through the connective tissue, fascia, tension line it affects the musculo-skeletal system from the duodenum to the diaphragm – mediastinum – pectoralis minor – anterior deltoid muscle – biceps – brachoradialis – wrist. That’s specific enough for me to work with.

Working Holistically to get the Full Picture Right

During a session I’ll assess progress and see if she is willing to talk, ask her to consciously relax where I am working and move between addressing the connective tissues, organ, musculo-skeletal and psychological tensions till they resolve.

To recap: physical tensions and even accidents are most often never stand alone incidences. They are likely to be preceded by a psychological element that has had an impact on the resilience of the body and mind. This is important if we want to look at it in a holistic yet grounded way.

Dive deeper into this topic by reading

The Trauma Essential Series

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