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Trauma Rehab Centers

How PTSD Can Cause Physical Pain Symptoms

How PTSD Can Cause Physical Pain SymptomsPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological and physiological disorder caused by exposure to any of the following traumatic events:

  • Battlefield combat
  • Natural disasters
  • Violent crime
  • Auto accidents
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • The sudden loss of a loved one

Even low-level stress from long-term bullying or verbal abuse can cause symptoms of PTSD. It may take weeks to years after the traumatic event for the following symptoms to develop:

  • Flashbacks
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Paranoia
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Self-injury
  • Substance abuse

One of the most common co-occurring symptoms of PTSD is chronic pain, but the relationship between these two issues can be complicated. Sometimes the traumatic event causes physical injury that leads to chronic pain, or it increases sensitivity to pre-existing pain. However, since PTSD can cause pain and pain can cause PTSD, having one problem can create a debilitating cycle of suffering.

Treating  TSD and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can be especially frustrating, because it may be difficult to identify the source of pain. Sometimes the pain following an injury lasts much longer than it should. This ongoing pain adds to the stress experienced by the sufferer, and the pain can also trigger anxiety when it reminds patients of trauma. Thus, treating co-occurring chronic pain and PTSD presents the following challenges:

  • Medicating pain with drugs can quickly lead to addiction and poor pain management
  • PTSD is treated through specialized counseling and medical care
  • Both the source of pain and the underlying emotional trauma that causes PTSD must be identified and treated in a holistic way
  • PTSD can cause depression, which reduces physical activity and other healthy habits, which in turn can increase pain

This kind of treatment is often best accomplished in inpatient facilities that allow patients to focus on healing without the distractions and stresses of daily life. However, the process continues for months or years after treatment in the form of ongoing counseling and medical care. Attempting to treat either the pain or the PTSD individually will almost certainly fail.

Help for PTSD and Chronic Pain

As complicated as PTSD and chronic pain can be, help is available. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now for confidential answers to all of your questions about these conditions and treatment. Reducing the effects of PTSD can reduce the pain you feel. Reducing your pain can likewise reduce your PTSD symptoms, so let us help you find lasting relief from both issues.