Injuries and trauma can have significant impacts on our bodies, both physically and mentally. When it comes to movement and posture, one reflex that deserves attention is the Trauma Reflex. This reflex is triggered by falls, impacts, or collisions and affects the muscles on one side of the body.
From a bird's-eye view, we can observe the spinal rotation that often accompanies the Trauma Reflex. The shoulder, pelvis, feet, and head may undergo compensatory rotations, affecting our gait and leading to a host of issues like back, hip, knee, and ankle pain.
How does the trauma reflex work?
Imagine someone tickling your lower right side ribs. In response, your body would twist slightly, your right hip would hike towards your right armpit, and your right armpit would move towards your right hip. This pattern of muscle contraction is similar to what happens during the Trauma Reflex.
The Trauma Reflex can develop through various situations, such as limping to protect an injured knee, holding a child on one hip for extended periods, slipping off a step, or undergoing one-sided surgery. This reflex involves muscles such as the rotators of the spine and torso, the latissimus dorsi, the obliques, the quadratus lumborum, the abductors of the hip on the affected side, and the adductors of the thigh on the other side.
How does the trauma reflex occur?
What makes the Trauma Reflex interesting is that injuries can cause it, but the reflex itself can also lead to further injuries. When we anticipate an impact, our instinct is to turn away from it, resulting in a side-on impact. The muscles on the impacted side contract reflexively to protect us, and if this contraction becomes habituated, we develop Sensory Motor Amnesia. This means we forget how to properly sense and move the muscles involved, leading to a habituated Trauma Reflex.
The habituated Trauma Reflex tends to cause postural distortions, such as curving of the spine, drawing together of the rib cage and hip on one side, tilting of the head, asymmetrical shoulders and hands, and changes in the angle of the thigh bone in relation to the knee. These imbalances compromise our balance and symmetry, making us more prone to further injuries.
What happens when we are stuck in a Trauma Reflex?
The habituated Trauma Reflex can manifest as postural distortions, such as a curved spine, drawn-together rib cage and hip, tilted head, asymmetrical shoulders and hands, and changes in the angle of the thigh bone. These imbalances compromise our balance and symmetry, making us more susceptible to further injuries.
Additionally, the Trauma Reflex can affect our gait, leading to issues like back, hip, knee, and ankle pain. When the Trauma Reflex is accompanied by the Green Light Reflex, conditions like Sciatica and Plantar fasciitis may develop due to the habituated muscle tightness on one side and in the back of the body.
What's interesting is that injuries can cause the Trauma Reflex, but the Trauma Reflex can also lead to further injuries. When we anticipate an impact, we instinctively turn away from it, often resulting in a side-on impact. The muscles on the impacted side contract reflexively to protect us, which can become habituated and lead to Sensory Motor Amnesia. This means we forget how to sense and move these muscles properly, ultimately creating a habituated Trauma Reflex.
The good news is that the Trauma Reflex can be eliminated with Somatic Movements. Somatic Movements can help pandiculate the affected muscles, restoring the brain's control of them and lengthening them back to their correct resting length. By addressing the Trauma Reflex, we can achieve softer, more relaxed muscles, a balanced gait, and a body capable of equal movement in all directions.