Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the name given to symptoms that occur following a traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress has grown common in our modern world for soldiers returning from a tour of duty, for students who are present at a school shooting, for people who experience terrorist attacks or mass shootings, and even for those who experience events like car accidents or other sudden and unexpected injuries.
Anything that shocks, scares, or results in serious danger can lead to PTSD symptoms. Let us take a closer look at the symptoms that accompany PTSD. Then we will consider a natural way to find relief from these symptoms by helping to get the central nervous system (CNS) back under control.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms and experiences vary from patient to patient. Some may not have experienced a dangerous event personally but have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one. For some, symptoms arise within the first few months following the event. They may even resolve on their own within just a few months. For others, symptoms are long-term and chronic in nature.
To get an official PTSD diagnosis, you need to meet the following criteria for a month or longer:
- At least one symptom involving re-experience
- At least one symptom involving avoidance behaviors
- At least two symptoms affecting mood or cognitive function
- At least two symptoms involving reactivity or arousal
Here are the symptoms involved in each of these categories:
- Re-Experience – Symptoms in this category include frightening thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks. Symptoms may be triggered by situations, thoughts, objects, and the like that serve as reminders of the initial trauma.
- Avoidance Behaviors – A person may intentionally avoid places, things, or events that remind him or her of the trauma. Even feelings and thoughts related to the event may be avoided making it difficult for the individual to seek help through counseling.
- Mood and Cognition – The patient may experience loss of interest in activities he or she once found enjoyable. Feelings such as guilt for surviving or blaming one’s self may occur. Negative thoughts about self or the world in general may persist. Memory of the traumatic event may be spotty.
- Reactivity and Arousal – The patient may constantly be on edge or struggle to sleep. It may be easy to startle the person. Angry outbursts are common, even if the person was previously very docile.
Particularly when it comes to children, PTSD may result in things such as bedwetting, being unnatural clingy with parents or other grownups, ceasing to speak, or acting out the traumatic event while playing. Teens may get involved in destructive behaviors.
Risk Factors for PTSD
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will suffer from PTSD. So what makes the difference?
Increased risk factors for experiencing PSTD include:
- Being injured in the traumatic event
- Having experienced trauma as a child
- Having little to no support socially following a traumatic event
- Having a history of substance abuse
- Having a history of mental illness
- Seeing someone else injured or killed during the traumatic event
Some who experience these events may be able to reduce the likelihood of experiencing PTSD by immediately seeking the support of family and close friends. Others benefit from joining a support group. Positive coping strategies can help, while turning to negative coping mechanisms may make matters worse.
Improving CNS Function to Help PTSD Patients
If CNS function has been inhibited, this may make it more difficult to process events that have occurred. It makes sense then that someone injured in a traumatic experience is more likely to suffer from PTSD. If a head or neck injury occurred, or if the person fell while trying to get away, it is possible that an upper cervical misalignment occurred. This can significantly affect CNS function in 3 ways:
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage – If a misalignment occurred in the top bones of the neck, CSF might cease to drain properly. This can cause intracranial pressure and reduced CNS function.
- Blood flow – Since the cervical vertebrae facilitate blood flow to the brain, a misalignment can affect this proper flow. Less blood flow means less oxygen, and that can have a significant effect on brain function.
- Brainstem function – A misalignment of the atlas (C1 vertebra) can put pressure on the brainstem and inhibit the proper function of this vital component of the CNS.
Upper cervical chiropractic can help to correct these misalignments in a gentle and long-lasting way, allowing the body the time that it needs to heal. It is no wonder then that case studies exist that show patients suffering from PTSD can receive benefits from upper cervical chiropractic care.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic – A Natural Way to Get Help
If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress, especially if you suffered an injury due to the traumatic event, it makes sense to get an examination from an upper cervical chiropractor. If a misalignment exists, this safe and gentle subspecialty of chiropractic may be just what you need to correct an underlying factor that is aggravating symptoms.
To learn more about upper cervical chiropractic care, use the search function on this website to find a practitioner in your local area. A consultation will help you to determine if this is the right form of care for you. Once you have received the help needed to address this underlying physical problem, you may find a reduction in other symptoms that you would never have imagined are related to such a simple issue.