Can a Car Accident Cause Fibromyalgia?

Can a Car Accident Cause Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that has many symptoms. As summarized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fibromyalgia “causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing.” According to the CDC, additional symptoms may include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Migraine headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • Digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms and you have not yet seen a doctor, you should do so promptly. This is particularly true if you have recently been involved in a car accident, as traumatic injuries are a common cause of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Can Be Caused by Physical or Psychological Stress

“Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.” This statement from the Mayo Clinic is consistent with the findings reported by the CDC. It also sheds light on the dual risks facing victims of serious vehicle collisions: Not only can suffering physical injuries in a car accident trigger fibromyalgia, but experiencing emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress as a result of a car accident can trigger the condition as well.

In addition, certain risk factors are known, or at least suspected, to increase certain individuals’ risk of developing fibromyalgia. For example, the CDC’s data indicate that the following factors can all potentially increase an individual’s chances of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia following a vehicle collision (under California law, being at higher risk for fibromyalgia will not affect your claim for financial compensation):

  • Age – Older individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
  • Sex – Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
  • Repetitive Stress – Repetitive stress can weaken the body, increasing the risk of a serious traumatic injury triggering fibromyalgia.
  • Illness – Certain illnesses such as viral infections can increase an individual’s risk of developing fibromyalgia.
  • Obesity – Obesity can increase an individual’s risk of developing fibromyalgia following a traumatic injury.
  • Family History – Individuals with a family history of fibromyalgia may also be at greater risk.

What to Do if You are Experiencing Symptoms of Fibromyalgia After a Car Accident

As we mentioned, if you are experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, the most important thing you can do is to see a doctor right away. If you were recently involved in a car accident, you should inform your doctor, and you should explain what happened during the accident to the best of your ability. It is also important that you describe your symptoms as fully and with as much detail as possible, as many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia can be indicative of other traumatic conditions as well.

Once you receive a diagnosis, it will be strongly in your best interests to carefully follow your doctor’s medical advice (or seek a second opinion if you believe one is necessary). As explained by the CDC, potential long-term effects of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic pain and physical limitations
  • Hospitalizations
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of rheumatic conditions

However, treatment options are available; and, if the other driver was at fault in the accident, a Glendale personal injury attorney will be able to help you recover full compensation for your long-term medical expenses and other losses.

Discuss Your Case with a Glendale Personal Injury Attorney for Free

Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia following a car accident in Glendale? For a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights, call us at 818-530-1300 or request an appointment online today.

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