Trauma Pain 

What is Physical Trauma?

Learn more about the causes & symptoms of physical trauma and trauma pain. Also, learn how to seek available treatment at J. Flowers health.

Table of Contents

Physical Trauma

Physical trauma is any form of bodily damage, including an accident or assault-induced injury. Physical injuries can be caused by an impact on the body (car accident or fall), a blow to the head (a punch), heat, cold, pressure, vibration, or the effect of chemicals on the body.1

Understanding the Severity of an Injury

The severity of trauma is determined by how much damage has been done to the body.2 The more serious the injury, the greater the chances of experiencing chronic pain following the event. Trauma and physical pain are common problems after injuries. It is not just the injury that causes pain but also the healing process and inflammation. The more severe the injury, the more likely the individual will experience trauma pain.3

Symptoms of Physical Trauma

There are varying symptoms of physical trauma revolving around the cause and extent of the injury, individual variability, and the general healing process. Common symptoms of physical trauma include:
  • Migraines: Migraine headaches are one of the most common physical trauma symptoms. These headaches can be debilitating and cause nausea with significant sensitivity to sound and light.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a major organ system in the body made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. Following physical trauma, gastrointestinal issues may include abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Exhaustion: Physical trauma often leads to exhaustion due to pain and discomfort during and after the healing process. Exhaustion can make it difficult for people to care for themselves at home or work after recovering from their injuries. 
  • Racing Heart: A racing heart or tachycardia is clinically defined as heart beats per minute exceeding 100 beats. A racing heart can be completely harmless but uncomfortable. Still, medical intervention should be short when a fast heart rate becomes persistent. 
  • Shivering: Shivering occurs due to flight or fight responses in the brain to help people be ready to avoid causes of trauma. In some instances, this shivering may persist after physical trauma. A rapid pulse and shallow breathing may accompany shivering episodes.
  • Feeling Jittery: This encompasses feelings of nervousness and the inability to relax. This can be due to pain or discomfort from injuries. 

Causes of Trauma and Common Diseases

Trauma may present in different degrees of severity depending on the causative agent. Trauma pain isn’t always caused by physical trauma and can be caused by several morbid conditions. These diseases may worsen or cause trauma pain as the condition progresses. In general, in every population, there are some consistent causes of trauma which include:

Traffic Injury

Traffic accidents are the most common cause of physical trauma. Traffic injuries occur between individuals in driven motor vehicles or people on the road. Trauma pain from traffic injury is often severe and requires immediate medical attention for treatment and the reluctant healing process.4

Fall Injury

Falls happen for different reasons, such as walking over a slippery surface or losing balance over a high platform. Fall injuries commonly cause trauma pain and are often seen in children and the elderly. Falls can also occur due to medical conditions such as fainting.

Mechanical Injury

Mechanical injuries include cuts, bruises, burns, and fractures occurring due to the impact of an external object or surface on the human body. Mechanical injuries are quite common and require varying levels of intervention ranging from basic first aid to hospitalization. 

Sharp Injuries

Sharp injuries are usually caused by sharpened surfaces capable of piercing the human body. Everyday objects that may cause sharp injuries include blades, knives, fishing hooks, scissors, etc. Sharp injuries usually cause severe tissue damage and can be very painful. The injury may be to the skin, muscle, and in severe cases, as deep as bones. Medical intervention is necessary to prevent infection due to microbial introduction to the body. 

Firearm Injury

Firearm injuries can occur inadvertently or intentionally. Gunshot wounds are dangerous because they can lead to severe bleeding, permanent damage to internal organs, and physical symptoms of trauma. Physical trauma and resultant trauma pain from firearm injury are usually debilitating lasting long after healing has been completed.

Differential Diagnoses of Trauma

Right before a healthcare professional can treat physical trauma, it is often necessary to ascertain the exact form of trauma involved. There are two primary types of physical trauma into which all forms of physical trauma fall into; these will be detailed below.

Closed Trauma

Closed trauma is the most common cause of injury to the head, neck, and other soft tissue. In this type of injury, the skin is not broken, and no foreign object is introduced into the skin during injury. The force that causes this type of injury may be a blow, fall, or compression (the body encounters something that pushes it down). Healthcare practitioners should constantly evaluate closed trauma incidents for signs of internal damage.5

Open Trauma

In an open trauma, either penetration of the skin by an object or foreign material or a fracture caused by force penetrating through the skin and causing bleeding under it. Open trauma injuries should be treated or closed as soon as possible to prevent persistent bleeding and infections due to microbial introduction to the body. Open trauma is a much more serious type of physical trauma. 

The Link Between Physical Trauma and Mental Health

Physical trauma and mental health are inextricably linked; in some instances, one condition may lead to another. Mental health issues such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and injury-induced depression can worsen physical trauma symptoms. Physical trauma, especially severe, may cause emotional trauma, with varying impacts on an individual’s mental health. Physical and psychological trauma are equally debilitating.6

This emotional trauma may occur due to regret, the fear associated with the physical trauma incident (trauma response), or the inherent biological nature of humans to avoid danger, especially after a bad experience. The link between physical trauma and mental health is seen heavily in accident victims, soldiers injured during battle and victims of sexual assault.

Biological Mental Health Issues

Biologically mental health issues can influence physical trauma. For example, suppose a person experiences PTSD due to a car accident or other traumatic event. In that case, their symptoms may become worse over time. This is because stress hormones like cortisol are released in response to stress. Cortisol has been found to play a role in increasing inflammation that can lead to physical pain from mental illness. 

Trauma causes mental illnesses of varying severity and related mental illness physical pain. Mental disorders caused by trauma and physical pain should be treated together. Generally, patients show a better prognosis during physical trauma treatment when mental health intervention is carried out simultaneously. This is highly important after severe physical trauma and physical pain. 

Physical Trauma Treatment

Physical trauma treatment is a broad medical care category that addresses the consequences of injury, disease, or other conditions that affect the body. Healthcare providers deliver physical trauma treatment through various interventions such as diagnostic imaging, surgery, physical therapy, home health care, pain medication, and other appropriate care. 

The first step in treating the physical effects of trauma is stabilizing the patient’s condition. This involves providing pain relief, such as medication and IV fluids, and preventing infection through appropriately cleaning and dressing wounds. If there are multiple injuries or fractures, doctors may need to apply an external immobilizing device to help stabilize the patient’s body until they heal naturally.

Trauma Pain

Overcoming Physical Trauma

Physical trauma treatment aims to restore the body to as much function as possible after an injury or illness. The goal of emotional and physical trauma treatment through trauma-informed therapy is not just to heal but also to prevent future injuries from occurring.

In some instances, mental health issues such as trauma induced depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental retardation from trauma (in children) are developed due to the impact of physical trauma. In such cases, a trauma therapist is essential to seek care and trauma healing for mental health issues and physical injuries. It is also necessary to monitor the effects of physical trauma on the body and physical signs your body is releasing trauma.

Get Help with Physical Trauma at J. Flowers Health

Physical and psychological trauma can be highly debilitating if not treated appropriately. Unfortunately, in some instances, it may not be possible to heal from trauma and physical pain completely. Therefore, trauma pain and mental health issues that result from the physical effects of trauma must be managed carefully to ensure patient comfort. 

What We Offer

J. Flowers Health provides comprehensive care and healing for people who have gone through long-term and acute physical trauma. We offer a wide range of services to help our patients recover from injuries and trauma pain and get back on their feet. Our team of specialists is experienced and available to provide the best possible care for our patients through trauma-informed therapy and interventions.

For more information on how to heal from long-term and acute physical trauma and trauma response through trauma assessment by a trauma therapist, please reach out to us at J. Flowers Health today.