HOW TRAUMA SHOWS UP IN OUR POSTURAL PATTERNS

Updated: May 6


Dictionary online defines Trauma as 1) a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and 2) a physical injury.


Inherent in this definition is an emotional aspect, a mental aspect and a physical aspect. Our somatic nervous system is continually responding to our environment and the events that happen in life. The job of our nervous system is to keep us safe and to continually assess threats of an emotional, mental and physical nature.


While severe experiences such as abuse, assault, major injury and MVA’s are widely deemed to be traumas, less severe experiences can sound similar warning bells in our nervous system.


Take for example, the separation of two parents in a household with young children. The children may not be equipped to deal with the emotional burden of this change and so the nervous system responds. One of the ways that Trauma Pattern shows up, is as scoliosis and this is often first diagnosed in pre-teens.


Or let’s use the example of having to deliver a speech to the entire school in 6th grade. And as you walk to the microphone you trip and stumble and the entire school laughs at you. Not only might you never want to public speak again, but your nervous system goes into overdrive and withdraws and rotates away from this threat presenting as a rotated pattern in your body. Now anytime you are presented with the need to public speak later on in life an intense fear shows up.


Traumas show up with distinct postural patterns in the body that affect the balance or bilateral symmetry and loading of the body in standing, and they also affect how we relate to the world and how we choose to show up in it.

If you think of the nervous system and that its job is to protect you, then you can start to understand why a Trauma Pattern in the body shows up as a one-sidedness, a rotation away from or a lean away from “that potential threat.”


Here are several pictures of just how the trauma pattern shows up.



Can you spot a rotation in the torso?


Can you see where there is an unevenness to the shoulders and/or hips?

Can you see the imbalance in the parapsinal muscles and how they pulls the spine out of alignment in a scoliotic pattern?


Of course a major surgery can also leave the body with one shortened side, as we spend more time loading and habituating onto the other side.


Addressing Trauma Patterns in the Body


The important thing to understand about the differences in approaches to restoring balance in the body is that that at RPG we work with clients to release the muscles that are tight and short to restore an evenness and balance, instead of trying to strengthen the “long side” to try and pull the body out of the lean or rotation.


Our approach addresses the root cause of the shortened muscles reducing the stress on the spine or pull into the joints. This in turn facilitates more ease and improves functional movement.


Interested to learn more?


We are holding a 2-hour Body Pain & The Trauma Reflex Pattern workshop & movement Practice this Saturday morning on Zoom. We’d love to have you.


Learn more and register for this experiential workshop. Find out about how the brain and nervous system move us into Trauma Pattern and what we can do to start to change this.


Thanks for reading!


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