Can An Accident Or Trauma Cause Fibromyalgia?

car accident
Can A Trauma or Accident Trigger Fibromyalgia?

Yes, recent research indicates that it is possible for an accident or trauma to trigger fibromyalgia symptoms. This includes emotional traumas such as the death of a loved one or a physical trauma like a car accident. In 2008 a team of Swedish scientists studied a group of twins and discovered, according to their research, that the risk of chronic pain is 50 percent genetic and 50 percent environmental (see is fibromyalgia genetic?). Environmental triggers include extreme stress, surgery, a serious accident or viral infection. One UK study showed that people who were involved in a car accident or had prolonged hospitalization as a child were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop fibromyalgia later in life. Accidents which result in injuries to the neck (such as severe whiplash) seem to particularly raise the risk. Some doctors think that traumas can cause the brain to set off a cascade of neurochemicals to protect the traumatized area. These defensive actions slow the body down, conserving energy, causing poor sleep, pain problems and mood changes. While in most people, the brain returns to normal activity once the trauma is healed, in fibromyalgia patients, it doesn't. In fact the whole body gradually succumbs to worsening pain (primarily in the main fibromyalgia tender points).

Related Questions
Take our symptom-quiz: What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Considering other triggers: Can a viral infection trigger fibromyalgia?
If you suffer from fibro-pain: What is the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain?
When seeking the correct medical care: What type of doctor treats fibromyalgia?

Other Trauma Triggers

1. Repetitive strain injury: an injury caused by repeated motions usually in a work environment.
2. Diabetic crisis: where a person fails to treat their diabetes adequately.
3. Abuse: People who were physically or sexually abused as children are more prone to developing fibromyalgia. For more details see, fibromyalgia causes.
4. PTSD: People who are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may start to experience fibromyalgia symptoms within 6 months of the event which triggered the PTSD. PTSD is an anxiety disorder where a person frequently relieves a traumatic experience which has happened to them - such as an accident, witnessing a crime or serving in the army in a combat situation.
5. Allergies: There is some evidence to suggest that allergies (which are like mini-traumas to the body) can trigger fibromyalgia. This may be why antihistamines sometimes make patients feel better (fibromyalgia treatment plan).
6. Virus: Some patients feel that a viral infection was the cause or trigger of their fibro pain. One 2005 study reported in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology suggests that the risk of fibromyalgia was higher in people with hepatitis B. The risk also appears higher in those with hepatitis C, Lyme disease and Epstein-Barr.

Other Questions
Treatment options discussed: Can fibromyalgia be cured?
Best types of exercise to help reduce pain: What are the best exercises for fibromyalgia?

• Need more information? See: Fibromyalgia Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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