Diagnosing Fibromyalgia after an Accident

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on April 06, 2016

Personal Injury and Fibromyalgia

People who are involved in car accidents or other physical trauma can develop a condition called fibromyalgia (FM).  Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be debilitating and have a substantial impact on an injured person’s life.  It is important to understand the symptoms of fibromyalgia in order to avoid misdiagnosis.  Accident victims who develop this condition should be aware that they have the right to make a claim for compensation.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition in which people describe widespread musculoskeletal pain which can be felt in their entire body. There is some evidence that fibromyalgia actually amplifies sources of pain by changing the way a person’s brain processes pain signals.  However, each case of fibromyalgia is unique in terms of the type and severity of symptoms.  Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.

The Cause and Symptoms

The cause of fibromyalgia is not well understood, however, there are various theories among medical professionals as to what the possible causes may be. The Mayo Clinic suggests three causes of fibromyalgia: genetics, infections, and physical or emotional trauma. Being involved in an accident can cause both physical and emotional trauma, which explains why many victims of car accidents develop symptoms of FM. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has also been linked to fibromyalgia.

The symptoms associated with FM can include:

  • A constant dull pain lasting for several months. To be widespread, pain must occur on both sides of the body as well as below and above the waist.
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and sleep that is disturbed by pain
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Headaches
  • Increased responsiveness to heat and cold

These are some of the most common symptoms, but those who suffer from fibromyalgia may also experience tingling in the fingers and feet, stiffness, abdominal pain, dryness in eyes, and being easily distracted. 

Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be triggered by factors such as weather changes, allergies and overexertion.  If you develop any of these symptoms after being involved in an accident, you should consult a medical professional immediately.

In many cases, medication can ease some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia; however, there is no complete cure for this condition.  Exercising, relaxation and stress-reduction have been shown to help in the reduction of symptoms for many sufferers.

Making a Personal Injury Claim for losses resulting from Fibromyalgia

Even though the source of fibromyalgia is unclear, because symptoms often begin or intensify after an accident, an injured person who experiences serious symptoms is entitled to seek compensation for their losses.  Accidents victims suffering from fibromyalgia may incur medical expenses, loss of income (if they are unable work in the same capacity), as well as other losses that add a financial burden to their lives in addition to the challenge of living with chronic pain and the other symptoms of this condition.

For many sufferers, fibromyalgia significantly affects day to day life. In cases involving severe symptoms, the condition can be crippling. Symptoms can diminish the injured person’s ability to function in their job, interact socially and with their family, and their ability to take joy in normal activities.  These are all factors that are taken into consideration in calculating an accident victim’s losses and the associated compensatory award sought in a personal injury claim.

If you are suffering unexplained symptoms such as widespread pain, fatigue, headaches, nausea, depression, or anxiety after being involved in a car accident, your first priority should be to consult with a doctor about your symptoms. Fibromyalgia is one of several conditions that may result in persistent symptoms after an accident and having your symptoms assessed is clearly an essential step in getting the appropriate care.  If you experience any serious symptoms resulting from an accident, it is also important that you seek legal advice from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.  There are timelines for filing a claim for accident benefits or damages, and your lawyer can ensure that you don’t miss a chance to obtain owed compensation.


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