Fibromyalgia · Life

The Limbic System & Emotional Trauma

Someone posted this video in one the fibro groups I am a member of. I have seen this doctor speak before and he bothers me…maybe its the hair dye. 😛  I think the first five minutes of the video put me off, but after that, he offers some good perspective.

Dr. David Brady: You Never Knew These Fibromyalgia Facts

For some reason, I am always offended by the implication that fibromyalgia is rooted in some sort of childhood trauma and/or abuse. Not that my childhood was idyllic by any means, but I’ve always felt very defensive about those struggles being the cause of my fibromyalgia.

In my head, it has more to do with some chemical toxicity that I was exposed to either as a child or young adult, combined with a more sensitive nervous system. But, if I am being 100% honest with myself, it is very possible that I am defensive about it as a method of self-preservation. In fact, I would venture to guess that for me, it was cumulative, not a single event, but many traumatic events combined with a more sensitive nervous system. 


But from what I’ve been reading lately, this sensitive nervous system that I think of, may actually be something created from changes in the brain resulting from early life trauma. When you are young and your brain is still developing, trauma can influence how different parts of your brain respond. For example, when something traumatic occurs, the information goes to our thalamus, located in the limbic system of the middle brain. The thalamus filters sensory information and helps us determine what is relevant and what is not, as far as danger is concerned and allows us to maintain focus and concentration. When this function is weakened, as observed in PTSD, the result of this malfunction is a sensory overload.

So, hypothetically, the developing brain and corresponding nervous system become damaged from traumatic events. Or, the developing brain is initially influenced by trauma and the malfunctioning thalamus alters the nervous system to be of a more sensitive nature. 

Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe changes to the brain throughout your life span. Luckily for all of us, the mature brain is not fixed and through mindful efforts and training, new brain circuits can develop. And maybe, positive neuroplasticity can also ease our malfunctioning thalamus and calm our nervous system? It’s interesting. I suppose looking into it more, I feel less offended by the idea and more intrigued about healing possibilities.

Which leads me to EFT (Emotional Freeing Technique) or Tapping. I’ve stumbled upon it many times over the years, but didn’t look into it seriously. But this is the summer of seeking peace, so I decided to take a deeper look.


Similar to acupuncture in the way that it involves proper energy flow and meridian points, tapping can help chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, sleep disorders, weight loss and more. The tapping in specific areas (called meridian endpoints) combined with mindful intent, is said to have a calming influence on your nervous system. The stress response from the limbic system triggers the fight or flight alarm, the tapping helps deactivate the alarm and sends a calming response through the nervous system.

It is easy and quick and I think I’ll be playing around with it a bit. Have you tried EFT?

Here are a few links I found helpful:

Tapping 101 (video)

Tapping & PTSD

The Tapping Solution

Take Care,



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