Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder that is characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened response to pressure. The pain is usually restricted to muscle and connective tissue but the symptoms are not always restricted to pain. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance and joint stiffness. Fibromyalgia is usually connected with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and other stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Lots of sufferers don’t experience all these symptoms and the condition can vary across different people.
Fibromyalgia is thought to affect 2-4% of the population but the main problem with the condition is that is lacks scientific consensus as to its cause. Many medical practitioners do not even consider it a disease because of the lack of abnormalities it presents on physical examination and the absence of diagnostic tests.
There has been some research that suggests that the abnormalities within the central nervous system may be linked to clinical symptoms. It also suggests that these abnormalities may be the result of childhood stress, or prolonged or sever stress. Although the exact cause is not known it is thought that these are many triggering events that could precipitate its onset. A few examples include infection (either viral or bacterial), a car accident or the development of another disorder, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or hypothyroidism.
It is unlikely that a person would be able to make a compensation claim for Fibromyalgia symptoms that occur spontaneously, however if the condition develops as the direct result of your involvement in an accident, such as a car crash you may be able to claim compensation. This sort of fibromyalgia condition would be known as post-traumatic fibromyalgia.
Post-traumatic fibromyalgia can be caused by a sudden movement in almost any kind of accident. It may be bought on by a trip or fall in a shop, whiplash in a car accident or an injury from heavy lifting work. However, it is not always strenuous strains that can bring on the condition; less strenuous repetitive tasks such as typing have also been known to trigger fibromyalgia.
It may be that symptoms do not manifest themselves for some time after the initial accident and it can take several months before it is diagnosed. You will need to see your GP to get a professional medical diagnosis.