Moving On From Injury and Trauma

It's a universal desire when we have a problem to want an easy fix and a solution. We all look for easy fixes for all kinds of problems, and often there is one. When it comes to somatic questions, however, there isn't always a fix. I don't mean for that to sound depressing. Instead, I'm offering a perspective shift.

To many people, "fixing a problem" means the same thing as "makes the problem go away". When you fix a car, the problem goes away because the broken piece has been replaced. The metal in a car doesn't remember that it had a broken piece, so the problem can go away. We aren't cars though. We have cellular memory of what has happened to us. We need to face the reality that regardless of the amount of work we do, the sources of injury or trauma will always be there. Echoes of our physical and emotional history live in our bodies and do not ever leave.

I'm interested in how we learn and grow. I'm interested in how we move on from injury or trauma, still allowing it to exist within us. The closest I ever come to "fixing" anyone is when a client comes in with back pain and they need to learn how to move in a way that takes the pressure off their back. There are often simple solutions to somatic questions.

When there's injury or trauma in the picture, things become more complicated. A healed sprained ankle will never be the same as it was before the sprain. Physical protection patterns developed in the midst of childhood emotional or physical trauma will never disappear. Instead, we can learn new patterns that work with our histories and let them take dominance over the injury or trauma patterns.

According to the concept of neuroplasticity, the more you use a pattern, the stronger the pathway for it in your brain gets. If a badly sprained ankle takes a long time to heal, the walking pattern you use while it's healing can become dominant over your previous walking pattern. If you experience a long period of physical or emotional trauma, protection patterns become the dominant way to carry yourself.

A client who has been plagued by emotional trauma for most of her life asked me today if her protection patterns and restrictions in her movement will ever leave entirely. I honestly answered that no, those patterns will always be there, but that I'm going to help her learn new patterns that will get stronger as she uses them, allowing her trauma patterns to fade into the background and giving her tools for when they do show up again. She, like many clients before her, was grateful for a realistic answer. We can't fix injury and trauma, but we can move on from them.