What is Trauma, and How Does it Relate to the Chiropractic Adjustment?


Written by Dr. Derek Larsen DC

Last Updated on December 8, 2023

At the office, I often talk about trauma because the inability to adapt to trauma is what brings people to the office for a chiropractic adjustment. The goal of this post is to help define trauma. In my opinion, to be healthy, we have to do the best we can to decrease the amount of trauma we subject our bodies to and increase our ability to adapt to the trauma we cannot avoid. Let’s talk about trauma, and how it relates to chiropractic.

Trauma is a big trigger word these days, and it can be a very sensitive topic. The word is tossed around way too much and has a rather ambiguous meaning. After a quick google search, the definition of trauma is a “deeply distressing or disturbing experience or a physical injury”. The fact is, the word trauma can be used to define several different experiences that we may pass through in our lives. In the chiropractic world, we use the word trauma quite a bit. Trauma is a common word in our jargon because an individual becomes a candidate for chiropractic care when they experience a trauma that they cannot adapt to. In other words, If your body can’t roll with the punches of life very well, you would benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. I want to break that down today as we talk about the different types of trauma that often result in a visit to your chiropractor in Juneau.


What is trauma?


In this post, we are going to walk through the different types of traumas that we may experience, in chiropractic we group them into three categories are Physical trauma, Emotional trauma, and toxic trauma. There are a few reasons I want to talk about these three types of trauma. The main one is because when an individual fails to overcome trauma, the body stores that experience and the individual falls in need of chiropractic care. This post is meant to help us define traumas so we can overcome them and or avoid them in our lives. 

Physical trauma 

The first category of trauma I want to talk about is physical trauma. Physical trauma can be something major like a car accident or a slip on ice, or it can be something minor like a repetitive use injury or poor posture. Major accidents that result in trauma are referred to as macro-traumas, and seemingly minor incidents are referred to as micro-traumas. The body has to adapt to all the physically traumatic events it experiences no matter how large or small they may seem. It is easy to recognize the source of an injury when you experience something severe like falling off a roof. However, many people visit the office and they say “I have no idea what happened, I just woke up and it hurt.” There is always a reason it hurts, pain is just a signal that something is wrong. With these cases, we do a little digging and often find a series of traumas that led to the state in which the body had to send out the pain signal. Most of the time there is a combination of micro, and macro traumas that have led up to the issue. We can usually find something that the body has been trying to overcome and adapt to, as well as micro-traumas in the individual’s life that are easily changed and avoided.  

Emotional trauma 

When I hear the words emotional trauma the first thing that comes to mind is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can come in many forms, including but not limited to childhood abuse, emotional abuse from a partner, or the emotional effects of sexual abuse. Dealing with these kinds of trauma can be incredibly difficult and I always recommend seeking professional help to heal from them. If you need help finding someone to work with please reach out we have several practitioners to which we refer to help individuals through that healing process.


Aside from emotional trauma inflicted on another person, we can also experience emotional trauma from our thoughts. Have you ever stressed out about something so hard you got sick? Maybe you know someone who has. Stress is a simple thought about something that you are unsure of. Stress in small doses helps us further our potential but chronic stress can be dangerous. Our thoughts are powerful. When left unchecked our thoughts can be harsh and can eventually become traumatic. When you are having trouble adapting to stress and your thoughts become too much to handle you may benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. 


Toxic trauma 


When I say toxic trauma I am referring to something that has been ingested. For example, a fast-food burger and fries could probably be considered a toxin that can be traumatic to the digestive system. Some things are toxic to the body, like household cleaners or anything that has a warning label on it.  Other things are not obvious and different people react differently to them. For example, some people are allergic to shellfish, for those individuals consuming shellfish could be considered consuming a toxin. Excessive amounts of just about anything can also be considered toxins. One of the things we get in excess in our diets in the United States is sugar and that can be considered a toxin. Check out this post for more info on toxins and how they are related to diet. There are a few ways to understand what you may or may not be sensitive to as far as food goes. Taking an allergy test is one way to understand where your sensitivities are coming from. Another way to understand where your sensitivities come from is through an elimination diet. You eliminate all foods that commonly cause issues to people and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time to see how your body reacts. Understanding what your body is sensitive to helps you better regulate the amount of potentially toxic to you materials that enter your body and increase systemic inflammation. 


How do we overcome these traumas? 


Every day we experience traumas. When we experience those traumas the body can either adapt and overcome them or store them to process later. Adaption can present itself quietly or it can noticeably present itself. One of the forefront examples of adaptation in my opinion is how calluses grow when an individual starts something new that puts stress on the skin like lifting weights. In the example of lifting weights, the body responds to the new trauma of gripping iron bars by adding layers of skin in the areas that get the most stress. This is an example of a successful adaptation, the body is preparing for the next potentially traumatic event so that it can overcome it again. When we meet the limits of our ability to adapt, we fall in need of some help. In severe cases, an individual who fails to adapt to trauma such as in the case of a bone break or, a severe laceration the individual must seek care at emergency medical services. After the life or limb-threatening trauma, the individual would also likely benefit from chiropractic care during recovery simply because they have experienced major trauma. In other cases when emergency medical services are not required, anyone who has experienced some sort of trauma that we talked about will likely benefit from chiropractic care. Come and see us, make us your chiropractor in Juneau. You may not know how healthy you can be

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