Can Car Accidents Trigger Fibromyalgia?
Car accidents regularly lead to injuries to broken and dislocated bones, severe lacerations, spinal cord trauma, head injuries, and more. However, car accidents can also cause injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. One of these injuries is fibromyalgia, a medical condition that can lead to severe pain and mental health complications.
Our accident treatment team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel explains what fibromyalgia is, how car accidents can trigger it, and how it is treated. Let’s get started!
What is Fibromyalgia?
As we discuss fibromyalgia, it is important to note that researchers do not know the exact cause of this condition. However, its onset is linked to infections, trauma, and genetics. Vehicle accidents could potentially trigger fibromyalgia due to physical trauma and psychological stress.
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that affects the bones and muscles. It is relatively common and amplifies musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread, chronic pain that lasts for a few months.
In addition to dull, widespread, aching pain, those with fibromyalgia also usually have other related symptoms including:
Many people with fibromyalgia experience extreme tenderness in some areas of the body. To diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors ask people if they have pain in four or five larger body areas at once.
People with fibromyalgia report extreme fatigue even after extended rest and sleep. To make things worse, many people living with fibromyalgia experience poor sleep due to unmanaged pain.
Decreased Cognitive Ability
Aside from physical pain, one of the most concerning symptoms of fibromyalgia is decreased cognitive abilities. Struggling to concentrate, remember, or focus are all problems for those with this ailment. Known as “fibro fog,” this can make it difficult to work, manage chores, or do household chores.
Women, seniors, and people with fibromyalgia in the family have an increased risk of fibromyalgia.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis and other bladder conditions
- Temporomandibular joint issues (TMJ)
- Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
How Do Car Accidents Trigger Fibromyalgia?
While research doesn’t know exactly what triggers the onset of fibromyalgia, many believe that specific types of nerve stimulation cause a change inside the brain leading to a significant increase in pain signals that travel from the spinal cord to the brain.
Though genetic factors and infections increase the risk, physical and psychological trauma associated with accidents could play a role. Researchers believe that the physical trauma sustained during a crash affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and alters pain signals.
Further, evidence suggests that prolonged or intense psychological stress can cause fibromyalgia or worsen its symptoms.
Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but doctors can prescribe medications and physical therapy to help people live a more normal life.
Getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia requires meeting the diagnostic guidelines outlined by the American College of Rheumatology.
To meet the criteria, you must have:
- Widespread pain for three months or longer
- The pain can occur on both the right and left sides and above and below the waist
While diagnosis seems straightforward, it is not always easy since there are many other conditions that cause chronic, widespread pain. The workup to diagnose fibromyalgia includes a variety of tests, examinations, and bloodwork.
Treatments for fibromyalgia are generally in two categories:
- Medications that treat the symptoms.
- Therapies that help reduce the syndrome’s effects.
Pain medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Aleve are often used. Lyrica is the first FDA-approved prescription drug that treats fibromyalgia directly. Opioids are not recommended for pain that is related to fibromyalgia.
Some antidepressants can help address the pain and fatigue associated with this condition, and muscle relaxers can help promote deeper sleep.
Specific kinds of therapies are used to help relieve pain in those suffering from fibromyalgia. These include:
- Counseling to help sufferers strengthen their resolve and gain coping skills.
- Occupational therapy to help them adjust to their home and work environments to support their overall health and well-being.
- Physical therapy can increase strength, stamina, and flexibility.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia
If you have been in a car accident and are suffering from the pain associated with fibromyalgia, we can help. Our compassionate team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel will help relieve your symptoms with targeted physical therapy, medication, and more.
Say goodbye to pain and call our medical clinic in Wesley Chapel at (813) 953-1002!