Can Car Crashes Cause Fibromyalgia?

Can Car Crashes Cause Fibromyalgia?

“Can car crashes cause fibromyalgia?” That was a common question back in the day when fibromyalgia was less understood. The British Columbia Medical Journal tackled the topic with this article showing that indeed, fibromyalgia can be caused by car crashes.

But now, it seems that the tables have flipped upside down as we learned from a new study that fibromyalgia can cause car crashes. Neither are a laughing matter.

The new study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, found that people with fibromyalgia had more than double the risk of being in a serious automobile landing them in an emergency room, compared to others.

Dr. Donald Redelmeier, the lead author of the study, told the Canadian Press, “Lots of studies have examined fibromyalgia as a consequence of a motor vehicle crash. But this is the first to our knowledge with the idea of testing whether it might be one of these underlying medical conditions that could contribute to a future motor vehicle crash.”

The study followed 137,631 Canadians with fibromyalgia. They accounted for 738 crashes during the first year after they were diagnosed. That is 2.44 times greater than the population norm.

The study concluded that “The increased risk included patients with diverse characteristics, approached the rate observed among other patients diagnosed with alcoholism, and was mitigated among those who received dedicated FM care or a physician warning for driving safety.”

Dr. John Pereira, a pain specialist at the University of Calgary who was not involved with the study, told the Canadian Press, “Some patients with this condition suffer from unrefreshing sleep and poor daytime concentration, which may explain the higher risk of traffic accidents.”

The Mayo Clinic describes fibromyalgia as, “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.”

Fibromyalgia affects nearly 6 million Americans.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, do you think there was an event that caused its onset?

Authored by: Staff

There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Laurie Decker at 7:41 am

    I had fibro, interstitial cystitis, 3 rupture disc…after surgery my disease wasn’t cured but I could be on my feet 12 hrs being a very active mom, wife, clean house everyday and loving life again, wanting to go back to work, but I was t-bone by another vehicle and my life changed once again but a lot worse than when I first suffered from it, that was 6 yrs ago and still in bad shape…all my doctors said the accident flared other back up…and one was at the Mayo Clinic.

  2. Verma jaeger at 11:24 am

    I’ve had all kinds of trauma and it started when I was young, at 8 I was ananded by mother, then by father, lived in abusive relationships , so I was hit on head many times, single mother with child that went in and out of juvenile , car crash three times, had hysteroctomy , nodules on thryoids , arthritis, sciatica, scolerosis , and fibromyalga, I was diagnosed in 2008 , I am now 59 hrs old, what I’m trying to say is that my fibromyalga could have been triggered by many different things , don’t know which one to pic, but it looks like stress got the best of me , I am on pain meds , don’t help much, I try and stay active in the winter here near Arizona, too hot to go outside during the summer , so I make jewelry to make me busy when I feel up to it ….

  3. Kayla at 4:47 pm

    I was 11 when I got horribly sick. It felt like the worst flu ever. It was so bad at one point my Grandma came to say bye and I was in bed and I saw her spinning over me like a fan. It was 2 years to the day of the first accident I was in. Not a major one, we were stopped at a light and a car hit us hard enough for my inch thick word search book to hit the dash and hit me in the stomach. I was diagnosed at 13 and I’m not 27, still fighting pain every day. My Grandma has also been diagnosed and were pretty sure my Mom has it too.

  4. Carolyn at 2:08 pm

    Mine was caused by contracting fifth’s disease as an adult from a child. Also known as parvovirus b19, it is a common childhood illness. I became ill for a few weeks like I had the flu. When I recovered from the illness…the aches and pains and fatigue remained and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That was 15 years ago. If you are in close contact with children, be careful if you did not have this as a child. It is also one of the viruses known to cause autoimmune diseases, which I have now also been diagnosed with 15 years after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had never even heard of this virus before it changed my life forever.

  5. nicole at 8:43 pm

    maybe they get in an accident due to the effects of the newly prescribed medicine?

  6. Pearl at 9:44 am

    Mine was caused by an allergic reaction to an antibiotic (sulfa). Just shy of my 40th birthday I was taking it for a sinus infection. I then felt like I had the flu and was unable to eat solid foods for 2 months and bedridden for 6 months. Before this event I was working full time in Retail. I tried going back to work a couple of times but could not handle it. It has been 18 years now.

  7. Theresa Arledge at 8:45 pm

    I believe it can be caused from car wrecks. I was in several when I was 17. I have had problems for many years but never knew why. I also have had lots of stress. My fibromyalgia got really bad when I was 35. I also believe that having fibromyalgia can cause wrecks. I don’t like to drive anymore. Never know when I’m not going to be able to hold the wheel or turn my head. There are just to many things that could go wrong at any instance. Especially if you get confused. Once I was getting mad because I didn’t understand why everyone was stopped, there wasn’t any cars coming. Right about the time I was going to say something I realized it was a red light. Just to dangerous.

  8. Nancy at 8:37 pm

    I believe my fibromyalgia was caused by an accident (not a car accident). One snowy morning I slipped on the back steps – 21 metal steps – I slipped on the top step and hit my tail bone on each step as I went down. I spent years trying to explain my fibromyalgia, then I remembered this fall.

  9. Maria Kaplan at 11:32 am

    YES, any traumatic esperience, i suffered For child abuse, domestic violence!
    I had fibromalgia since i Was 16, PTSD therapy help a lot!
    Lest pain

  10. Sandi at 11:18 am

    My car was rear ended and didn’t think it serious at the time, but my fibro reared it’s ugly head shortly after that. I have believed for a long time that the crash brought it on. My fibro was diagnosed in 1987 at 28 years old. After my regular doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong THANK GOD I found another who diagnosed me and put me on meds. He has been a lifesaver!!

  11. J Thompson at 8:12 am

    Absolutely 100% believe my fibromyalgia was caused by a car accident!! 4 years ago we hit a horse that came off of a bank onto the road in front of our car. We lived!! Though I have had pain every day since the accident. It took almost three years to diagnose it as Fibromyalgia but after doing my homework and much research I am truly confident that I was diagnosed correctly. Prior to the accident I had NO health problems at all. Life hasn’t been the same since the accident!!

  12. Karen at 5:41 am

    I do indeed believe my fibro was caused by a car accident. I was in a pretty bad one where I was rear-ended, and that is when I began to have trouble. It took years for me to figure out what might be causing my pain, my doctors had all given up trying to help me to find out what was wrong.