What is the role of trauma in the development of fibromyalgia?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Trauma as a trigger of fibromyalgia has been a highly contentious and medicolegally charged issue in American society. Until very recently, physical trauma as a causative factor in the development of fibromyalgia was an open question because properly designed prospective studies had not been performed and little experimental evidence explained the presence of pain in the absence of tissue injury.

Setting aside case series and other anecdotal observations that do not provide valid evidence concerning causation, numerous controlled investigations on this issue are now available. The preponderance of current evidence does not support physical trauma as a significant causative factor in the development of fibromyalgia. [56, 57, 58, 59, 60] At a clinical level, however, patients who attribute their fibromyalgia to trauma have more perceived disability, self-reported pain, life interference, and affective distress than patients with idiopathic onset.

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