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micro trauma


Macro and micro trauma are probably not words that you are used to hearing when describing trauma related injuries but they are important to differentiate the types of injuries one may acquire. Micro trauma is a category unto itself.

Macro trauma consists of a sudden onset injury such as a slip and fall, blunt force injury, and most commonly, a motor vehicle accident.  These injuries are often acute with swelling, bruising, and possibly broken bones.  Micro trauma is associated with repetitive day in and day out injuries due to overuse of an area of the body on a daily basis.  In the past, micro trauma has been mainly associated with assembly line work.  Today, micro trauma is often associated with prolonged computer keyboard use, prolonged cell phone use, and poor posture.  For younger people, micro trauma is associated with gaming.


Either macro or micro trauma can lead to long term health issues.  Often both can be changed with chiropractic adjustment, rehab exercises, massage and muscle re-education, and specific stretches.  Chiropractic care helps to restore function to joints that have been impacted by macro trauma or micro trauma.

Psychological Trauma

Psychological trauma, mental trauma or psychotrauma is an emotional response to a distressing event or series of events, such as accidents, rape, or natural disasters. Reactions such as psychological shock and psychological denial are typical. Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, difficulties with interpersonal relationships and sometimes physical symptoms including headaches or nausea.

Trauma is not the same as mental distress or suffering, both of which are universal human experiences.

Given that subjective experiences differ between individuals, people will react to similar events differently. In other words, not all people who experience a potentially traumatic event will actually become psychologically traumatized (although they may be distressed and experience suffering). Some people will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being exposed to a major traumatic event (or series of events).

This discrepancy in risk rate can be attributed to protective factors some individuals may have that enable them to cope with difficult events, including temperamental and environmental factors (such as resilience and willingness to seek help).

People who go through extremely traumatizing experiences often have problems and difficulties afterwards. The severity of these symptoms depends on the person, the types of trauma involved, and the emotional support they receive from others. The range of reactions to trauma can be wide and varied, and differ in severity from person to person.

After a traumatic experience, a person may re-experience the trauma mentally and physically. For example, the sound of a motorcycle engine may cause intrusive thoughts or a sense of re-experiencing a traumatic experience that involved a similar sound (e.g., gunfire). Sometimes a benign stimulus (e.g., noise from a motorcycle) may get connected in the mind with the traumatic experience. This process is called traumatic coupling.

In this process, the benign stimulus becomes a trauma reminder, also called a trauma trigger. These can produce uncomfortable and even painful feelings. Re-experiencing can damage people’s sense of safety, self, self-efficacy, as well as their ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships. They may turn to psychoactive substances including alcohol to try to escape or dampen the feelings. These triggers cause flashbacks, which are dissociative experiences where the person feels as though the events are recurring. Flashbacks can range from distraction to complete dissociation or loss of awareness of the current context. Re-experiencing of symptoms is a sign that the body and mind are actively struggling to cope with the traumatic experience.

Major Trauma

Major trauma is any injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or death. There are many causes of major trauma, blunt and penetrating, including falls, motor vehicle collisions, stabbing wounds, and gunshot wounds. Depending on the severity of injury, quickness of management, and transportation to an appropriate medical facility (called a trauma center) may be necessary to prevent loss of life or limb. The initial assessment is critical, and involves a physical evaluation and also may include the use of imaging tools to determine the types of injuries accurately and to formulate a course of treatment.

In 2002, unintentional and intentional injuries were the fifth and seventh leading causes of deaths worldwide, accounting for 6.23% and 2.84% of all deaths. For research purposes the definition often is based on an injury severity score (ISS) of greater than 15.


Injuries generally are classified by either severity, the location of damage, or a combination of both. Trauma also may be classified by demographic group, such as age or gender. It also may be classified by the type of force applied to the body, such as blunt trauma or penetrating trauma. For research purposes injury may be classified using the Barell matrix, which is based on ICD-9-CM. The purpose of the matrix is for international standardization of the classification of trauma. Major trauma sometimes is classified by body area; injuries affecting 40% are polytrauma, 30% head injuries, 20% chest trauma, 10%, abdominal trauma, and 2%, extremity trauma.

Various scales exist to provide a quantifiable metric to measure the severity of injuries. The value may be used for triaging a patient or for statistical analysis. Injury scales measure damage to anatomical parts, physiological values (blood pressure etc.), comorbidities, or a combination of those. The abbreviated injury scale and the Glasgow coma scale are used commonly to quantify injuries for the purpose of triaging and allow a system to monitor or “trend” a patient’s condition in a clinical setting.[7] The data also may be used in epidemiological investigations and for research purposes.

Approximately 2% of those who have experienced significant trauma have a spinal cord injury.