PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after a traumatic event. It causes symptoms like reliving the traumatic event, avoiding troubling situations and hyper-arousal to stimuli.
Flashbacks, nightmares, wanting to avoid people, places and things associated with the trauma, emotional numbness, detachment, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, sleep disturbances and fear are common issues with which people with PTSD will struggle; these symptoms can harm one’s health, wellbeing, relationships and quality of life. These effects can be debilitating, so do not underestimate the power of these issues.
PTSD frequently co-occurs with other physical and mental health concerns, from depression to heart disease, and one of the most common symptoms of PTSD is physical pain. However, because PTSD is a psychiatric condition, many individuals do not connect the pain they experience with the past trauma.
Because of this, many patients turn to medicinal treatment to alleviate their physical pain, but because the root of this pain derives from PTSD, the pain will remain until patients seek psychological treatment. Long-term physical pain symptoms highly increase the risk for dependence and addiction, so seek help to address both of your conditions.
Connection between PTSD and Physical Pain
An obvious connection between PTSD and physical pain is that some trauma can cause pain. The physical impact of trauma can cause immediate physical effects and injury, or encourage physical symptoms that progress later on. Next, the symptoms of PTSD can create physical pain symptoms.
Sleep disturbances, hyper-arousal and anxiety all create physical tension and stress, which can damage one’s health. Migraines, back pain, stomach pains, body aches and other issues can easily stem from PTSD symptoms. Furthering this idea, the many issues that co-occur with PTSD—like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and obesity—can trigger physical pain symptoms as well.
A person’s health is determined by wellness in physical, mental and spiritual health, so a mental health disorder has no limits to the amount of damage it can cause. Anyone with both PTSD and physical pain can seek a number of treatment options to address both issues simultaneously.