Fibromyalgia and Physical Trauma: The Concepts We Invent

J Rheumatol. 2014 Sep;41(9):1737-45. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.140268. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Abstract

Despite weak to nonexistent evidence regarding the causal association of trauma and fibromyalgia (FM), literature and court testimony continue to point out the association as if it were a strong and true association. The only data that appear unequivocally to support the notion that trauma causes FM are case reports, cases series, and studies that rely on patients' recall and attribution - very low-quality data that do not constitute scientific evidence. Five research studies have contributed evidence to the FM-trauma association. There is no scientific support for the idea that trauma overall causes FM, and evidence in regard to an effect of motor vehicle accidents on FM is weak or null. In some instances effect may be seen to precede cause. Alternative causal models that propose that trauma causes "stress" that leads to FM are unfalsifiable and unmeasurable.

Keywords: CAUSATION; ETIOLOGY; FIBROMYALGIA; MEDICOLEGAL; TRAUMA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*