Trauma Types Causes Fibromyalgia

6 Trauma Types Causes Fibromyalgia: Understanding the Link Between Physical and Emotional Pain

Fibromyalgia is a condition where people experience widespread pain, tiredness, and tenderness in certain parts of their body for a long time. 

While its exact cause is unclear, research suggests a link to trauma or stress, including physical, emotional, or psychological events. 

Those with a history of trauma, such as abuse, are more prone to developing fibromyalgia, possibly due to lasting effects on the brain and nervous system. Individuals with PTSD also face a heightened risk of fibromyalgia.

Physical Trauma

Physical trauma can refer to any injury or damage to the body caused by an external force. This can include car accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. When the body experiences physical trauma, it can lead to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms.

Studies have shown that physical trauma may be linked to the development of fibromyalgia. A 2018 review of 51 studies found that the majority of people living with fibromyalgia reported a history of physical trauma.

While the exact mechanism behind this link is still unclear, it is thought that physical trauma may trigger changes in the central nervous system that lead to the development of fibromyalgia. 

Additionally, physical trauma may cause damage to the muscles and tissues in the body, which can contribute to the pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia.

Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma is one of the potential causes of fibromyalgia. A study conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association found that 63% of fibromyalgia patients had experienced emotional trauma in their lives. 

Emotional trauma can include a range of events, such as abuse, neglect, or losing a loved one.

It’s thought that emotional trauma can cause changes in the brain that lead to fibromyalgia. The stress and anxiety caused by trauma can cause the body to produce more stress hormones, which can lead to inflammation and pain. 

Emotional trauma can cause changes in the way the brain processes pain signals, leading to an increased sensitivity to pain.

Some common types of emotional trauma that may be linked to fibromyalgia include:

  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Combat trauma
  • Natural disasters

6 Trauma Types Causes Fibromyalgia

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. 

According to Healthline, PTSD is directly associated with experiences of trauma. PTSD symptoms can include intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, negative mood, and hyperarousal. These symptoms can last for months or even years after the traumatic event.

Research has suggested a link between PTSD and fibromyalgia. According to Arthritis Care & Research, fibromyalgia is more commonly diagnosed in people with PTSD. The study examined fibromyalgia incidence among members of the U.S. military.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a significant risk factor for developing fibromyalgia. The trauma can be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or other adverse experiences. Children who experience trauma are more likely to develop chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia later in life.

Research has shown that childhood trauma can lead to changes in the brain and nervous system, which can increase pain sensitivity. This increased sensitivity can cause pain to be felt more intensely and can also cause pain to be felt in areas of the body that are not injured.

Children who experience trauma may also develop coping mechanisms that involve dissociation or numbing emotional responses. These coping mechanisms can make it more difficult for them to recognize and manage pain later in life.

Chronic Illness Trauma

Trauma can be defined as any event or experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. This can include physical, emotional, or psychological trauma. 

Chronic illness trauma, in particular, refers to the trauma that can result from living with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia.

Living with a chronic illness is really tough and can seriously affect how someone lives their life. It can make them feel alone, frustrated, and like there’s no hope.

These feelings can be compounded by the fact that fibromyalgia is often an invisible illness, meaning that there may be no outward signs of the condition.

Research has shown that individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives may be at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia. 

This is because trauma can have a significant impact on the body’s stress response system, which can lead to changes in the way that pain is processed.

Medical Trauma

Medical trauma refers to any physical trauma that a person has experienced due to a medical procedure or intervention. This can include surgeries, medical treatments, and complications that arise from these procedures. People who have experienced medical trauma may be at an increased risk for developing fibromyalgia.

Studies have shown that individuals who have undergone surgeries or medical procedures may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia. This may be due to the physical trauma that the body experiences during these procedures. In addition, medical procedures can cause stress and anxiety, which can also increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Some strategies that may help manage fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Engaging in regular exercise, such as low-impact activities like walking or swimming.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.
  • Taking medications as prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of traumatic events are linked to the onset of fibromyalgia?

Research indicates that several types of traumatic events are associated with the onset of fibromyalgia. These include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as other types of trauma, such as accidents, surgeries, and natural disasters.

How does stress potentially trigger the development of fibromyalgia?

Stress can disrupt the body’s natural stress response system, leading to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can cause inflammation and disrupt the immune system, which can contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. Stress can also lead to muscle tension and trigger points, which are common symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Can childhood trauma increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia later in life?

Research indicates that people who go through tough times as kids, like being mistreated or ignored, might have a higher chance of getting fibromyalgia when they grow up. Tough childhood experiences can mess with the brain and nerves, making it more likely for someone to develop long-lasting pain issues like fibromyalgia.

Is there a connection between complex PTSD and the occurrence of fibromyalgia symptoms?

Complex PTSD, which is a type of PTSD that results from repeated trauma, has been linked to the occurrence of fibromyalgia symptoms. Individuals with complex PTSD may experience chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that are similar to those of fibromyalgia.

Are individuals who have experienced emotional abuse more susceptible to fibromyalgia?

Studies show that people who have been emotionally abused might have a higher chance of getting fibromyalgia. Emotional abuse can mess with the brain and nervous system, making it more likely for chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia to happen.

What is how living with PTSD may complicate fibromyalgia management?

Living with PTSD can complicate fibromyalgia management in several ways. PTSD can lead to increased levels of stress, which can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms. PTSD can also make it difficult for individuals to engage in activities that can help manage fibromyalgia, such as exercise and relaxation techniques. In addition, some medications used to treat PTSD may have side effects that can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.

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