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Stress, Trauma and the link to Chronic Pain

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler, Evano Community (

Stress & Trauma
& The Link to Chronic Pain

Stress and Trauma: a modern-day epidemic

70 percent of adults experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.

  • 20 percent of people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.

  • About 8 million people have PTSD in a given year.

  • 1 in 13 people will develop PTSD at some point in their life.

  • Stress-related illnesses are the biggest health expenditure in the UK annually.


Stress-related health issues are estimated to cost the NHS over £11 billion per year. The CBI, which identified these results, found that the conditions linked to anxiety, stress and depression are the leading cause of long-term absence in the workplace. Their study in May 2021 found that stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the majority of days lost due to work-related ill health in 2019/20. This in itself makes up nearly 30% of all lost working time

What it doesn’t tell you is the emotional cost to yourself, your family, your relationships, and your ability to just survive, let alone thrive.

Clinical experience suggests that a high proportion of people with medically unexplained symptoms or somatoform disorders give histories of Adverse childhood experiences. (ACE’s) Symptoms can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, and physiological arousal. You might experience a few or all of these symptoms.


Increased exhaustion is often the result, as the more worried and stressed people are, the more tense and constricted muscles will become. Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.


The 10 ACEs of trauma are forms of physical/emotional abuse, neglect and household dysfunction. They generally include the following:

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Physical neglect

  • Emotional neglect

  • Mental illness

  • Divorce

  • Substance abuse

  • Violence against your mother

  • Having a relative who has been sent to jail or prison

If you have had several of these types of experiences happen in a layered or simultaneous manner, or if you are struggling with any of the above symptoms then you have likely experienced trauma. The ACEs create levels of toxic stress which shape your perspective on yourself and the safety of relationships, and they increase the risk of physical, emotional and social problems later in life.

There are tests you can take to help discover whether you have experienced childhood trauma, and help you understand how it may be affecting your current life. If you are interested in this, please take the test below:




Please remember that the ACE score isn't a crystal ball; it's just meant as guidance. It tells you information about one type of risk factor among many. It doesn't directly take into account your diet or genes, or other major influences on health, such as whether you smoke or drink excessively. ACE scores also can't take into account any of the positive experiences in early life that can help build resilience and protect a child from the effects of trauma.

For instance having a grandparent who loves you, a teacher who understands and believes in you, or a trusted friend you can confide in may mitigate the long-term effects of early trauma.


If after taking the test it triggers any feelings of being uncomfortable, please book a free 30-minute Explorer Call with us using the button at the bottom of the page, in which we can signpost you to the support you might need.

Why do the ACEs cause these problems?

The reason lies not with the present, but with the unresolved stress, anxiety, and beliefs that you still carry from your past.


What can be done?

It might be tempting to believe that your situation is hopeless. But it doesn’t have to be.

All our therapists have been through their own traumas and adverse childhood experiences, they bring with them both lived and learnt experience.

Please visit the Our Team page to find out more about our associates.


Our approach to therapy offers a real opportunity for sorting out the complexities of why you are where you are in life, and what these medically unexplained symptoms really are - your body's way of delivering a message to slow you down long enough to make time to address what needs to be tackled emotionally.  We not only address the ‘Why’, but with careful and compassionate inquiry we discover who you truly are at your core.

You are not the sum of your beliefs handed down from care giver to child, or generation to generation, you are so much more.

You will not only learn about your triggers and how your personality style contributes to your current situation, but more importantly what you can do about it. This can sometimes be done through traditional talk therapy, but usually it requires working with a therapist who is specialised in providing trauma treatment or trauma informed care. More advanced treatment methods are available, such as EMDR , EFT,  Somatic Exploration, Embodied Processing and many other techniques. With these tools and the caring support of your therapist, you can overcome and resolve your trauma.

The 10 ACEs of trauma inform us as to which childhood experiences can be the most damaging, even causing complex trauma. However, the effects of adverse childhood experiences don’t have to continue haunting you.

Below are three films that explore the impact of childhood ACE’s/Trauma and the link between the mind and body:

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The Wisdom of Trauma

– Dr Gabor Mate

This Might Hurt

– Dr Howard Schubiner

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Resilience – The biology of Stress and the Science of Hope

This Might Hurt Pic.jpg

If any of this resonates with you, then please book in a FREE 30 minute Explorer Call with one of our team who are ready to have that conversation, and find out what is possible.

Whatever you're going through, call us free

any time, from any phone, on 116 123.

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