What is your body’s first reaction to sudden injury? I don’t mean broken bones, bruises, and bloody cuts – although these happen and we must pay attention to them. The first result of trauma is the “shock” an injury causes to your nervous system!

When confronted by sudden injury, the body instantly puts into action a “protection plan” honed by millions of years of evolution to help us survive. Immediately, your blood vessels dilate and sugar and adrenaline pour into your bloodstream. In the immediate aftermath of an injury, this response is critical to help you heal.

But sometimes, the body cannot turn off this “fight or flight” reaction. Days, weeks, even months go by and the body is still pouring adrenaline into your system as if the accident just happened. Your breathing continues to be rapid and shallow. You feel “wired and tired” at the same time. You are inflamed, irritable and depressed. Sleep is disrupted. Your body is wearing itself out responding to a non-existent threat. No wonder you are in pain and nothing you do seems to help.

An overstimulated nervous system is too preoccupied to do a good job of mobilizing nutrients, hormones and blood flow to the injury. The patient cannot get enough sleep to recover. Inflammation grows, the region of injury loses mobility and a cascade of more injury and pain follows.

If you can “turn off” the body’s overreaction by restoring balance to the nervous system, the nervous system will heal and the body will heal along with it.

I use osteopathic manual medicine to calm the nervous system and restore it to homeostasis. Patients often will fall asleep on the table while I am treating them, and find themselves sleeping for hours after a treatment. Once the nervous system is calmed down, the body can much better marshall its resources for healing.