Recently a comment was posted on my website from a woman who suffered child sexual abuse in her childhood and as an adult suffers from tension and pain in her neck and shoulders. I imagine this is pretty well universal for those of us who were victims of child hood trauma.
How many cases of chronic pain, gynecological problems, sick stomachs, fibromyalgia, result from traumatic memories stored in the body? It’s not hard to realize that tensing every muscle in your body over the years and carrying a huge amount of fear in your gut will inevitably end in physical illness – or at least in discomfort.
Recently I have been having massage from a very skilled therapist. She knows how to work with the trauma trapped in my body. The feeling of trauma is that of itchy, scratchy sensations under the skin. This is actually the trauma trapped in the myofascial tissues as explained by Dr. Robert Scaer in his book and website, both entitled The Body Bears The Burden: Trauma, Dissociation and Disease.
That’s why self care and knowledge of trauma is essential for those of us who have been traumatized. Cardiovascular exercise is incredibly important if you suffer from any kind of trauma. It’s our animal body’s way of releasing stress.
Dr. Scaer is a neurologist who was director of a centre treating treating chronic pain. His specialty was whiplash. He discovered that almost any treatment worked – for a while. And then the pain returned. No amount of narcotics relieved the pain. What was going on? Dr. Scaer realized these patients had all experienced child abuse. Their pain was in the area of the body that corresponded to where they’d been hit or held during the trauma.
Here is the reference for Dr. Scaer’s important book:
Scaer, R., The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation and Disease: The Haworth Medical Press, Binghampton, N.Y., 2001.