Abstract: Fibromyalgia after motor vehicle collision: evidence and implications

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Traffic Inj Prev. 2005 Jun;6(2):97-104.

McLean SA, Williams DA, Clauw DJ.

Department of Emergency Medicine and The Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. samclean@umich.edu

OBJECTIVE: Assess currently available evidence regarding the ability of a motor vehicle collision (MVC) to trigger the development of fibromyalgia (FM).

METHODS: Consensus standards developed by the American College of Rheumatology Environmental Disease Study Group were used to assess the ability of an MVC to trigger FM.

RESULTS: Increasing evidence suggests that FM and related disorders are characterized by abnormalities in central nervous system function related to sensory processing, autonomic regulation, and neuroendocrine function. MVC trauma appears capable of triggering FM, but generally not through direct biomechanical injury.

Instead, the evidence suggests that MVC trauma can act as a “stressor,” which in concert with other factors, such as an individual’s biologic vulnerability, psychosocial factors, cultural factors, and so on, may result in the development of chronic widespread pain and other somatic symptoms. MVC trauma is only one of many stressors which can trigger such disorders, and the environment within which the stressor is experienced (biological and psychosocial) may largely determine whether there is an adverse physiologic result or not.

CONCLUSIONS: The evidence that MVC trauma may trigger FM meets established criteria for determining causality, and has a number of important implications, both for patient care, and for research into the pathophysiology and treatment of these disorders.

PMID: 16019393 [PubMed – in process]

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