Can fibromyalgia be associated with whiplash injury? A 3-year follow-up study

Rheumatol Int. 2011 Sep;31(9):1209-13. doi: 10.1007/s00296-010-1412-7. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


The objective of this study is to assess the long-term outcome and natural history of a cohort of patients with whiplash injury regarding the development of fibromyalgia. Of the 153 patients who were admitted to the emergency room after whiplash injury in 2004, 126 were reassessed 3 years later. Also, 33 of 53 patients from the original control group of hospitalized patients with fractures were reevaluated. Patients were interviewed by phone and by written forms using a detailed questionnaire. Patients who complained of musculoskeletal symptoms were invited and examined. The study group included 68 men and 58 women, with a mean age of 50.1 ± 9.7. The control group included 19 men and 14 women with a mean age of 44.2 ± 10.3. Follow-up period did not differ significantly between the groups 38.3 ± 2.3 vs. 36.4 ± 4.2 months. At the end of the follow-up period, three patients in the study group compared with one patient in the control group were diagnosed as having fibromyalgia; all of them were women. The rate of new onset widespread pain increased with time in both groups. Symptoms of dizziness, headaches, fatigue and sleep disturbances improved, as well as the quality of life (QOL) and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) scores. Insurance claims continued to be more prevalent in the control group. The results of this extended follow-up study confirm previous short-term results showing that whiplash injury and road accident trauma are not associated with an increased risk of fibromyalgia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dizziness / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology*
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications
  • Whiplash Injuries / epidemiology*