“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?