The Effects of Trauma on Physical Health

The effects of trauma on physical health can be long-lasting and devastating. Previously, researchers viewed trauma as something that primarily only impacted the mind, but recent evidence suggests that the body is greatly affected as well. Trauma is a lot more common than we realize, and it can occur as a result of a single incident or from ongoing exposure to distressing events. 

Trauma can manifest itself in a variety of physical symptoms, and recognizing these effects of trauma on physical health is crucial for proper treatment. In this article, we will go over the physical manifestations of trauma, how you can identify the signs of trauma, and dive into some effective holistic solutions for trauma treatment. Let’s get started! 

The Physical Manifestations of Trauma – What are the Effects of Trauma on Physical Health?

the effects of trauma on physical health

Trauma can manifest itself in various ways, including physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, and digestive issues. These physical symptoms can cause discomfort, disrupt daily life, and negatively impact overall health. Additionally, trauma can contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

When you undergo a traumatic experience, your nervous system switches into “fight or flight” mode, activating a cascade of reactions within your body to support your body’s ability to fight or flee from danger. However, many people struggle to switch out of this state after a traumatic event, leaving their bodies in a constant state of arousal. When the body gets stuck in this state, it can lead to chronic health issues and many of the symptoms of complex PTSD. 

Trauma clearly has a mental and emotional impact, but it can also have a drastic effect on your physical health. Immediately during or after a traumatic event, you may notice the physical symptoms of trauma on your physical health, such as: 

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure 
  • Faster breathing 
  • Localized chest breathing 
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling or shaking 
  • Paleness 
  • Insomnia 
  • Breathlessness 
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Inability to relax 
  • Difficulty sitting still 
  • Poor digestion

Everyone reacts to trauma differently, but these physical signs are common immediately during or after a traumatic event. 

When traumatic events are repeated, or the body gets stuck in an activated state, this can lead to many chronic health issues over time. Many individuals with a history of trauma or complex PTSD may experience the following health issues: 

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes 
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer 
  • Migraines 
  • Chronic viral and bacterial infections 
  • Reduced immune function
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Chronic health issues have complex causes, but it is undeniable that there is a connection between the body and the mind. Through a holistic and integrative approach to healing trauma, you can get to the root of these physical and mental health issues. 

How Do You Recognize the Signs of Trauma on Physical Health?

The first step to healing from the effects of trauma on your physical health is recognizing that it is having an impact on your everyday life. Many individuals with a history of trauma do not remember these events or minimize the effect that they have on their lives. While getting stuck in the past is not necessarily beneficial, it is essential to see how the past is impacting your present-day experience to truly address these issues and heal from within. 

It is crucial to recognize the signs of trauma in yourself and others. Some common mental symptoms of trauma include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, and headaches can also be indicative of trauma. Recognizing these signs in yourself and seeking help from a holistic health practitioner is the first step toward healing from trauma. Remember, there is absolutely no shame in having a trauma history, and the easier you can recognize these signs, the faster you can access a life of ease and freedom. 

5 Holistic Solutions for Healing from Trauma and Its Impact on Physical Health

Healing from trauma requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of the trauma. The key to trauma treatment is first working to regulate your nervous system to shift out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest” mode. Then you can gradually begin processing your trauma memories and healing the past. There are many ways to begin healing from trauma, but below we will go over the best holistic methods for recovering from trauma:

1. Yoga, Meditation, and Breathwork for Trauma

Yoga, meditation, and breathwork are potent tools that directly target your nervous system and promote the balance of the body, mind, and soul. One of the ways these methods impact trauma is by toning the vagus nerve, which connects your body and mind. The vagus nerve directly controls the switch in your nervous system out of “fight or flight” mode. Through a combination of therapeutic yoga techniques, you can calm your nervous system and access deeper ease within your body and mind.

2. Nutrition for Trauma 

What we eat directly forms the building blocks of every cell in our bodies. When we consciously support the body with nourishing, organic foods filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, this can help the body and mind fight off inflammation caused by trauma. Nutritional therapy can also provide your brain and body with the necessary amino acids that build the chemicals in your brain that impact your mood. With conscious nutritional therapy for trauma, you can dive deeper into healing your nervous system and get to the root of chronic physical health issues. 

3. Psychotherapy or Counseling for Trauma

No trauma treatment program is complete without psychotherapy or counseling for trauma. Psychotherapy provides a safe space to process traumatic memories and build coping skills for dealing with the impacts of trauma in your everyday life. Through the counseling process, you can begin to discover how trauma from your past is impacting your present, rewrite the narratives of these trauma memories, and discover your incredible resiliency and inner strengths that help you cope with the trauma in the present. 

4. Herbs and Supplements for Trauma

Herbs and supplements are an excellent ally for trauma treatment. Sometimes nutrition and lifestyle changes are just not enough to get to the root of mental and physical health issues. But with targeted herb and supplement therapies, you can support your mental and physical health and access more radiant wellbeing. Herbs and supplements are a natural way to support your health without many of the side effects of conventional medications. Adaptogenic herbs are often considered the best herbs for trauma, but an integrative approach from a clinical herbalist trained in trauma treatment is essential to support you in this process.

5. Somatic Therapy for Trauma

Trauma transcends both the body and the mind, and somatic therapies can help you target both at the same time. Somatic therapy links the body and the mind to track the sensations and the felt impact of emotions in your body. By developing a deeper connection with your body, you can break out of the common dissociative symptoms of trauma and begin to form a healing connection with your body. Gradually, somatic therapies support deep healing of your nervous system and give you the tools to self-regulate and remain calm no matter what stressful events you may be facing. 

My Personal Experience and Success in Healing from the Physical and Mental Impacts of Trauma

As a holistic health practitioner, I have witnessed the positive effects of holistic healing on individuals who have experienced trauma. One client who experienced an acute traumatic event later suffered from chronic headaches and back pain. Through a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga therapy, and counseling, she was able to reduce her physical symptoms and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Another client who had ongoing complex trauma from her childhood struggled with anxiety and depression along with chronic digestive issues. With the help of yoga, meditation, nutritional changes, herbal medicine, and counseling, she was able to reduce her symptoms and improve her overall quality of life.

I also continue to heal from trauma in my personal life. Through my own experiences, I came to this holistic approach to treating trauma that combines nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, meditation, breathwork, somatic therapy, and counseling. Trauma is complex, and through this integrative approach, I truly believe that any person can heal from trauma and access the life of their dreams! 

Discover Holistic Trauma Healing Services at Surya Bella Wellness

Trauma can have significant physical manifestations that can negatively impact your overall health. Recognizing the signs of trauma and seeking holistic solutions can promote healing and wellbeing. As a holistic health practitioner and yoga therapist, I am committed to providing individuals with the tools they need to overcome trauma and live a healthy, fulfilling life. If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, please reach out for a free consultation. You are not alone in this journey; there is a way out! 

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