|If you're going to fall, fall the right way!|
There are many ways in which a person might develop fibromyalgia. In my particular case I can recall having several significant accidents which involved my head and neck as a child. (Not surprising is it?) Thankfully these weren't severe enough for me to have surgery or even any hospitalizations. However, looking back, I can't help but feel that those falls contributed to my present health problems. (Wanna know how to freak out a rheumy nor neurologist? Tell him about your head traumas and watch him turn white!) Although my CFIDS/ME/CFS was most probably caused by a bad "flu" in 1975, my doctors and I believe that the fibro was just ready to come popping out as in "the straw that broke the camel's back": I had become predisposed (by a LOT!) towards fibro because of the freaky (and I do mean "freaky") head and neck trauma I sustained. I 'll have to save those gems for another post when we all need a huge laugh!
Quite a few people have mentioned to me that it wasn't until they had been in a bad fall or in a motor vehicle accident that they developed fibro. Would they have gotten fibro anyway? Or did the trauma somehow trigger the development of fibro in those people?
Many years ago there was disagreement among doctors as to which it was. For example, there was a large conference in Vancouver, B.C., Canada in 1994 to settle the issue. It did just the opposite. The doctors felt that they needed more information and more studies to answer the questions as to whether or not trauma could cause fibromyalgia. Up until that time, there were only four published studies linking trauma and fibro in a cause-effect relationship. The proceedings were published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 1996.
Since that time, more studies have been done and by 2001 the consensus of the leading rheumatologists at a conference in Toronto, Canada was that in some cases trauma can indeed trigger the development of fibromyalgia. This opinion was unanimous and the paper was published in 2003 in a special edition of The Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain whose editor and chief is I. John Russell, MD, PhD., a prominent internationally known fibro expert who was also a member of the committee that published the fibromyalgia criteria in 1990 (mentioned previously).
Despite all of this information there is often resistance on the part of accident insurance companies to pay for the medical expenses of someone who's developed fibomyalgia in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else's negligence. Just because you can't see this "invisible' problem does not mean that it does not exist. Giving insurers the benefit of the doubt (ahem) this can very well be because the insurers do not understand how a "whiplash" injury to the neck or a low back injury due to a rear end collision can evolve into a widespread pain problem like fibro. What further complicates the situation is that it takes time for the fibomyalgia to develop. Even more confusing, is that many patients with such injuries do NOT develop fibromyalgia. Consequently, a careful evaluation must be made in each and every case to determine whether or not an injury caused fibro.
This situation is not only of theoretical importance. Injured people need the best treatment possible and conventional health insurance can only go so far. If an individual is injured by someone else in a motor vehicle, for example, all of their injuries, including fibromyalgia, should be covered. This often requires a large settlement to cover the cost of medications and treatments that will likely be needed indefinitely as there is no "cure" for fibro.
What can be done? If you're injured, make sure you get an excellent evaluation and if widespread pain was not present before the accident, make sure your doctor checks you for fibro. Remember, there are now two different sets of criteria that can be used: the 1990 criteria published in Arthritis and Rheumatism and the 2010 criteria published in Arthritis, Care and Research. Fibro is not a "wastebasket" diagnosis and can cause a great deal of suffering and even so much impairment as to be disabling. (See other post re disability.)
Don't let this problem get out of hand. Take advantage of the "window of opportunity" when healing is still very much a possibility. Get early diagnosis and treatment so that things don't progress to the point of where you can no longer live a productive life.
As always, hoping everyone is feeling their very best, only better. Ciao and paka!
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