I have struggled with headaches from when I was a child. I usually have up to 5 headache days per week, and they are very intense. I’ve discussed it at length with various doctors and have seen chiropractors, all to no avail (but, you know, they still get to lecture me on losing weight. ugh). 

Finally, I started seeing a different chiropractor, and he has made a great difference. I now have headaches about 2-3 days every two weeks. This is because in addition to my adjustments, he works on the muscles in my neck and back that are pulling my spine out of alignment. He is a really great chiropractor.

Today I went for my regular appointment, and my neck was giving him a ridiculously hard time. Normally my muscles resist for awhile and then give in, but it was like he just couldn’t get anywhere with them today. He paused for quite some time and just sat there, and then asked if I had been traumatized as a child. I told him that I had, and we discussed how childhood trauma can create a long-lasting muscular fear response in which we tense up our muscles around our neck and shoulders to protect the head (even if the head was not the focus of the trauma). He didn’t ask for any details about the trauma itself, but said that he had been wondering that for a long time but didn’t know when or how to ask. 

It actually felt really good to have someone who did not previously know about my trauma to come to that conclusion. Like many survivors of trauma, I tend to doubt myself. What if I’m making it up or simply misunderstood something? The fact that my body told my chiropractor about my trauma and he asked me about it was really validating. He told me he would like to do some “energy work” like pranic healing or reiki, and I told him I don’t really believe in that stuff (there is absolutely no evidence for it) and he said that was fine, to just let him know if I ever wanted more information.

I really would like to find a therapist that deals specifically with trauma and maybe the body’s physical response to trauma. In addition to my headaches and muscle pain, I also have vaginismus and I would really like to work on that so that I can possibly use a tampon, have a gynecological exam, or do any sort of penetration. I think, though, that this will have to wait until I graduate. I just don’t have the time or energy to devote to it right now, but I may work on finding someone who would be a good fit for me. 

If anyone is comfortable sharing, I would love to hear from other survivors about the physical effects trauma has had on their body and how they cope with it.