Can Trauma Cause Fibromyalgia?

trauma and fibromyalgia

A lot of those who are suffering from fibromyalgia would trace their symptoms to a certain traumatic event in their life. Understanding the link of this condition to trauma might help to give you some relief.

Traumatic Events Could Lead to Fibromyalgia

The usual thinking is that if you’re a genetically predisposed individual, then a trauma on the head or neck could precipitate the onset of fibromyalgia. Moreover, people whose symptoms of fibromyalgia begins with trauma might be able to re-develop the condition at a later time. Patients who fall in these category often have a family history of chronic pain.

Although most medical experts would link the symptoms of fibromyalgia to injury that affects the neck and head, traumatic triggers of this condition are much more widespread.  Any kind of stressful or traumatic event, such as a major surgical procedure, certain severe body infections, experience in war, and other events, may trigger fibromyalgia and most of these cases are not directly associated with any kind of trauma to the spine.

Traumatic Experiences that Can Lead to Fibromyalgia

The traumatic experiences that are usually correlated with fibromyalgia are the following:

  • Certain types of viruses like Hepatitis C and HIV
  • Childhood separation from parents that lasts more than six months.
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Living through a war.

Linking Trauma to Relief

For some patients, knowing the traumatic triggers of their fibromyalgia can lead to a hope of relief.  For instance, a patient who has had a traumatic experience of almost getting hit by a vehicle would often complain about body pains that seem to be coming from forearms and femurs. The pain would radiate through his bones, yet no doctor could explain rationally how the experience could lead to this pain. After a year however, the patient received a diagnosis.

Intensive Program of Exercises

Some medical experts have developed intensive program of exercises to somehow help deal with fibromyalgia. The exercises  include traction, that’s intended to correct the body’s response. The program also comes with personalized dietary and lifestyle changes, like giving up carbonated soda.

Patients who have undergone the program has reported that they have significant relief from the symptoms an would find that they feel worse on days where they will not follow the program.

Unfortunately, not all whose fibromyalgia have been triggered by trauma could find relief in the same process. Those who have this condition should be cautious when it comes to claims about quick and easy relief from any trauma that can lead to chronic pain. The doctor further advises asking for evidence, like results of clinical studies before and after the X-ray, which could support the patient’s claims.

Doctors further note that although several medical experts are increasingly aware of the correlation between traumatic events and fibromyalgia, there are also others who are not. But if you think a traumatic event may have triggered your pain, then it is worth taking further investigation.

30 Comments

  • I grew up in an extremely violent home, instigated by the biological “father”. I have no memories of ANY childhood. It was nothing but terror, and horror. Shortly after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, at age 42, my Dr, out of the blue, asked about my childhood. I never talked about it. So, I told him, only gave him the details of a couple of incidents. His response was this, “No wonder you are sick. You have been pumping adrenaline your entire life.” I am now 62, still sick, worse even. Anyway, I will never forget that day, and that question. Just curious if anyone else out there suffering with this awful malady, grew up in similar circumstances?

    • Debra, I have similar childhood memories or lack there of except a few violent incidents involving my biological raging alcoholic Father. I feel fairly certain that my body having produced adrenaline at an unhealthy consistent rate throughout my childhood and then in a stressful toxic marriage contributed greatly to my Fibromyalgia and ME.

    • I also wanted to include that I also had an accident while on rollerblades. I collided with a “runaway ” biker. I had a mild concussion and a black eye. My Fibromyalgia began shortly after this incident. I was also on Accutain for adult acne for 5 months just prior to the Fibromyalgia onset.
      I believe that all stress to the body both physical and emotional involves the mind and brain trauma, increased and over production of adrenaline which contributes to the onset of Fibromyalgia and ME.
      1) walked on egg shells throughout childhood with abuse
      2) toxic and stressful, oppressive marriage
      3) Collision accident with concussion
      4) Accutane wiped out all the good bacteria in my gut.

      I believe that all of these factors contributed to my debilitating illness.

    • Cathy J
      Debra Joy your childhood account sounds almost identical to mine. My biological father was verbally, physically and sexually abusive. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 32 years ago and could have had it long before the diagnosis. I am now 64. In 2014 I applied for disability. My attorney asked if I’d had any emotional or physical trauma. I thought that was an odd question, but how perceptive of her. Not one doctor treating the fibromyalgia has ever asked that question. I’ve been treated with every possible medication. After a period of time my body develops a toxic reaction and now I no longer have a prescription available to me , other than narcotics. I refuse to go down that path. I have discovered “dottera”, a line of natural digestible oils, diffuser oils and supplements. They have changed my life. I hope you can find relief. It is by the grace of God that I am still alive and sane!

    • I firmly believe that my fibromyalgia was caused by events in childhood and spending 15 years taking care of my husband who was a diabetic and wouldn’t follow doctor’s orders…I spent that time trying to do what was right for him and he fought it on every hand…I can remember having some fibromyalgia symptoms before he ever passed away, but didn’t know what they were or what was causing them…my childhood was spent feeling that I never measured up to my mother’s expectations…she was always comparing my sister and me to other girls who were cute, popular, slim and pretty…and asking us why we couldn’t be more like them…..as it is, my sister, who was 18 months older than me, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia years and years ago before it was ever named….she eventually passed away in 2015 from early onset Alzheimers…needless to say, I’m sure her diagnosis was caused by the same things as mine…..my childhood home was not happy with my mother causing all manner of problems for my father by going out to the stores and charging lots of things that he had to worry about paying for…my little brother was Downs Syndrome which I’m sure didn’t help my mother’s attitude….when he was born, it was like she only had that one child to care for….oh, she cooked our meals and sewed our clothes because it was expected of her, but she never showed us any real love and concern…I married way to early so I could leave my unhappy home situation, but just jumped right out of the frying pan into the fire….my marriage wasn’t happy,, even though I had 3 children….my husband wasn’t kind to me and liked to say ugly things to me in public, but he did it in a joking way…..that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is totally wrong…..words do hurt and they cut way down to the quick where it takes forever to heal
      I am now 74 years old and have never felt like I have been loved like I needed…..and it is probably too late now for that to happen…

    • Debra I too had a very traumatic childhood of extreme abuse to myself and all my siblings too. My mother had 13 babies, only 5 lived, many surgeries and her illnesses were trauma related but never diagnosed that way. Many male physicians did not understand the female body is affected heavily by emtional trauma. If we are able to give birth well trauma received by mother can and will go into the unborn child through DNA. Energy is never created nor destroyed. Just like when and how an animal bred for human food has trauma if not humanely and quickly killed ….any trauma goes into the cells of the body, human or animal and affects the brain, how we eat, sleep, drink, rest, relax, choose to self medicate or not ….how we cope with trauma has a lot to do with how our body, mind and our souls react to repeated or even one time trauma. Repeated subjection to trauma and abise whether verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse is abuse and that equals damage of permanent nature like being in a fox hole at war or firing an automatic weapon at another human being when you normally would not do that in any situation other than war. People with trauma in their young lives like myself had trauma compounded by observing abuse while it was being inflicted upon other siblings and even my mother too. If you were abuse physically and in every other way imagineabpe and then threatened with reform school even though you knew you didn’t do anything wrong was compounded trauma and abuse in the worst form. My father sent my older brother away to reform schools four times and he didn’t do anything wrong to deserve being imprisoned for years at a time ans separated from his siblings and mother. My father even threatened to send me and my sister to reform schools and I was very afraid and a very nervous child. This trauma ended up becoming a cycle of not knowing the difference between love and abuse in adulthood. Father was insidious with intense love and abuse. Incrdibly sick minds with alcoholic siblings and his father went right into the next generation and so on .. the cycle of abuse was broken in the generation if my grandchildren thank you GOD! So yes many have suffered silently and end up using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain nothing can take away. No wonder people go insane or use drugs and alcohol…no mystery to me when Catholic Church cardinal law lied and hid abuse within the church by priests sworn to guide and protect children did use that power to abuse children and got away with it for many many years without prosecution meanwhile the children suffered damage that could not be healed not matter how hard they tried because justice was not served upon the offenders. Even in my own family the offender was never prosecuted but GOD and karma took care of his multitude of sins. I forgave my offenders because I could not carry the negative resentful angry feelings with me because I meant no harm to anyone. I always felt if the saying an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth were followed through then there would be a lot of blind and toothless people in the world. That makes me think foreign countries who brutely cut off someone’s hand or fingers if they steal may have the answer to such horrific crimes against children for a sickness that has no cure known to work

      • I was adopted as an infant. I believe however that I experienced trauma while in my mother’s womb. For at least six months my mother and ‘father’ fought violently as to whether my ‘father’ was biologically mine. My mother was devastated that my ‘father’ was forcing her to not bring me ‘home’ (this arguing point went on until my ‘father’ died.) THEN after I WAS adopted they hired professionals to locate me-this was 1950 and adoption records of that era were secret-so my adoptive parents were frantic -they had lost TWO biological babies in infancy and likely over protective. This battle carried on for at least 2 years. As a result (in my opinion) I am a VERY insecure woman. I am glad to have read your and others’ stories-I think it has given me new insight-it is helpful. BTW-I have a sibling who pushed me to do DNA testing-my ‘father’ was not my father and my adoptive parents raised me.

  • I’ve had many traumatic experiences since childhood. Not just physical abuses,but pretty much every form of abuse. Even into my adulthood by various people. In 2007 I was injured at,work. So, a combination of these;I believe. Has caused fibromialgia.

  • I believe my fibromyalgia was caused by traumatic experience of both separation from parents from a young age over 6 months as well as physical and emotional abuse.

  • If the Fibromyalgia is caused from trauma what does it matter? Yes, mine is from trauma….. now what? The dis-ease is still there!

  • I have been saying this for years. Being a Body Psychotherapy client and having trained as such myself, it is ‘painfully’ obvious to me that trauma is at the root of my FMS Sometimes I go into my therapy session, allow tears to flow and walk out at the end of the session with diminished pain levels by 80%….. it’s not rocket science but it does require the person suffering with this disorder, to face it head on and be willing and open to looking at things from another angle.

  • I honestly believe Fibromyalgia is caused by injury to the body. I was completely healthy before I got into a car accident that herniated disc on my lower spine. I then had back surgery. After a few months, I started feeling pain all over my body. I take pain medicine and it only helps the pain in my back and not the pain I feel everywhere else. One Dr said the pain could be caused by the pain meds and once I get off of them the pain everywhere else will go away. When I try to take less pain med I then can barely walk because of the back pain. Surgery did not help and actually made it worse. My father has herniated disc and pain but not so excruciating that he has to take pain meds and he has had 7 heart attacks and never takes pain meds, so I don’t believe that pain has a family connection. I find by taking Magnesium, B12 and Vit D helps a little. I try to walk as much as I can before the pain gets too bad. If I just lay in bed all the time the pain is worse so I try to keep moving.

  • I believe mine was brought on by a car accident. A truck t-boned my car. I also believe that my Fibromyalgia peaked when my husband and I split up. After we separated the pain all over my body was excruciating!!

  • My Fibromyalgia was caused by a car accident. It was a very foggy morning. We were at a stop sign and got rear ended by a larger vehicle driven by someone who was going 20 miles over the speed limit and could not see the stop sign or our car through the dense fog. The impact completed obliterated the rear passenger compartment. My head got bashed up against the dashboard and shattered my eyeglasses. Glass from the front windshield went up my nose and lodged in my nasal sinuses. Shortly after the accident I started to develop a tremor, speech difficulties, upper chest, upper back, neck and shoulder pains, sleep problems. A doctor diagnosed me with costochondritis. During additional physical exams, a different doctor diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.

  • I believe now that mine was brought on by the sexual abuse from my father from as a baby and then physical abuse from partners, trauma to the head and body.

  • I believe it surfaces due a number of things. I had never heard of it until I saw a Chiropractor many years ago and believed this to be my problem. He asked about my past injuries and past emotional experiences. I have endured a severe physical trauma along with the loss of a child. It all just seemed to fit, but since moving 30 miles away from his office, I have had to find other providers. Most of them have accepted this diagnosis, due to explanation and paperwork I have provided. I agree with a previous comment……yes, it’s Fibro, now what can I do to make it feel better? I am so sorry to hear these posts, and what you all have been through. Some days, crying is all we can do and hide from the world.

  • I had pancreatitis in 1995. A near death experience! I have not seen many days without pain from fibro since 1996.

  • my childhood wasn’t that bad i wouldn’t say it was traumatic my fm started after I had the epidural with as they said a bit to much with the top ups I was in full labour for 27 hours and my daughter was a natural birth she was 7lb 10oz and was double breech bum first I was 20 in the September she was due originally in October but didn’t give birth till the middle of November she was that swollen she looked like a boy in the private parts her eyes were swelled and her skin and nails were peeling off also her skin colour was part deep red part yellow she was horrible to look at that was 32 years ago but since ive had a family member commit suicide aged 17 and my dad passing away but me and him didnt get on we didnt speak for years due to a few good smacks i recieved when i was a young adult so I don’t know what mine is I’ve also been diagnosed with C.O.P.D CAD osteoporosis osteoarthritis and possibly rhumatoid arthritis in my fingers and knees I have a lot of spasms in my fingers and hands I’ve also got mental health issues with suicide thoughts . I think mine’s inherited though as 2 of my older sister have fm aswell

  • I lived through the troubles in belfast through the seventies.A child what I seen no child should ever go through its really a long story just an example walking by a car with a wreath for a funeral hidding bomb in it.bomb went off I run home from school to see if my pregnant mammy and daddy was ok.people were killed in that bomb we had hedges parts of peoples flesh were getting hosed out by firemen.flesh in our home back of a head in our back yard it was the worst time of my life young old died that day .My sister and me had the worse nightmares hands walking along our bedroom we came out in gutted psoriasis and the school we went to was put on fire and petrolled bombed.This is just one memory its a long story im in my fifties still have nightmares my sister also has fibromaligia.My childhood never leaves me I still suffer psoriasis till this day with my nerves.our house was shot into lots of times.This is a brief story f what happened in the troubles in belfast in the seventies of many me and my sister suffer terrible with our nerves and anxiety.Trauma lots of it.could be related t trauma fibromaligia.

  • If it’s trauma then how do you explain the genetics? I believe I have had trauma that helped to initiate the symptoms. However I think I got it from my father and his father. They both have similar symptoms but not a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Hmm??

  • I have had a few accident over the year my x husband pushed me off the stairs causing i broke both ankles, hit my lower back on the stairs both arms landed between me and the stairs relying in damage to wrists and finger joints. Within 6 weeks I could not look after myself and needed carers. I have since had Both knees and my right hip replaced and vote ankles and feet pinned I also damaged my back lifting a heavy patient and was in a car accident in 2007 a taxi driver hit back of my car at 30 mph saying he didn’t see I had stopped at traffic lights.. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Rhuematoid and Osteo Arthritis Chronic Fatigue Syndrome IBS I have Bladder incontinence requiring a specialist nurse and medication the embarrassing thing is I need a commode at the side of my bed and tena lady pads to be able to get through the day. Was this caused by accident falling on stairs?more than likely I am on 32 tablets a day for various conditions and totally fed up of taking them doctor now wants me to go back on morphone as my pain is so bad from my left ankle. I am waiting an operation on it. I have depression often resulting in me not opening curtains going out not showering or washing my hair. I don’t sleep anyone else have these probs?

  • Yes I had TRAMA in my early years, I was hit by a car in 2nd grade, in later years, after a Divorce in 1996 is when everything hit the fan, now diagnosed with RA also, excruitating bone pain, bone density test good, think it’s all musculoskeletal, times my muscles just jump around with spasms, reminds me of the “HULK”!
    The weather in Ohio has lots go do with it I find.
    Moving to AZ is not an option…
    Waiting for Medical Marijuana, been off of pain meds over a year by choice to save some organs from opioids.
    Prayers to All who need pain relief!

  • Kidnapped at 4 by my mother and a man. On the run, sleeping in filthy buildings and in alleys. Bagging for food from drunken strangers at bars. Beaten and whipped by my drunken Mother. Crying and bagging to go back to my Daddy!
    My Daddy NEVER gave up looking for me. He sold everything to hire a PI to search.
    Fast forward to today. I am now blessed, safe and have a beautiful family. An amazing husband, two adult married children and 5 sweet grandchildren. I am 63 years old, never knowing a day without physical, emotional pain during my childhood. The pain IS Fibromyalgia. A lifetime of burning and hurting. HOWEVER I survived and praise GOD for the Blessings in my life. NEVER give up!!!

  • My mother died when I was 9 and my father blamed me. She had uterine cancer and he blamed me. I had a nervous breakdown at 11 due to my mothers death and the way it was handled. At 14 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. At 15 I was raped by a person who was going to our local police academy. My first husband was an abuser and I miscarried twins in my 5th month. There’s alot more but I do think there is a correlation.

  • Yes! I had the same thing happen to me. Except this was the first time this doc ever seen me, was quite taken back but looking back he was probably right! YES YES & YES! Childhood trauma from HELL & seems it hasn’t really stopped since! HOWEVER, I was on soo many different kinds of medications they were literally driving me insane! PLUS Cymbalta made me so sick I wasn’t able to EAT FOR 2 MONTHS! Well, over the past 8 months I have winged myself off if all but 2 meds AND FEELING MUCH BETTER!!! It will take awhile for my body to detox everything but I can most deffenatly say “FEELING SOO MUCH BETTER! PLUS PLUS a friend of mine swears that the supplement called EZorb with calcium Aspartate Hnhydrous helps tremendously! It’s given her her life back! Sooo when I finish detoxing I will try it myself! Good luck out there, & PLEASE CHECK THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ALL YOUR MEDS & THAT THEY DON’T INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER!

  • I know emphatically that a car accident and stress precipitated my fibro. It was nothing but a small fender-bender,but I started getting so stiff and sore I could not even get up from a squatting position or sitting position. It was sudden,and I was fairly young,and before this I did not have the symptoms. At the same time I was under a great amount of stress for an extended time taking care of my mom 24/7 and all her medical and home things and well as my own. I know,too,that extended periods of great stress will cause it to become worse.

  • I just wanted to share with everyone..I have found so much relief since starting turmeric 6 months ago! You might want to do some research to find the right brand for you. Between my Cymbalta and turmeric, I am soooo much better!! I shared with another person and after being on turmeric 4 months, she has has the same results that I have had.

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