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The Body, The Brain; Trauma and Chronic Pain

It can be said with some confidence that the brain and body are connected. Within a single second about 100 billion neurons are firing off 5-50 action potentials. Signals that allow us to process our surroundings, maintain spacial awareness, keep us balanced and help prevent us from harm.

When we experience a traumatic event it affects three main components.

The amygdala: aka "the lizard brain" which is the instinctual and emotional response center.

The hippocampus: responsible for controlling memory and distingusihing past from present.

The prefrontal cortex: responsible for regulating emotions and impusles.

When that same trauma response is triggered, the amygdala goes into overdrive as if we were experiencing the trauma for the first time. The prefrontal cortex will become suppressed, taking away the ability to regulate emotions; all while the trauma response decreased the activity of the hippocampus which causes us to be less able to distinguish that this is a past trauma and not a current experience. The brain perceives that this trigger as an immediate threat itself.