Fibromyalgia Triggered By Whiplash

Fibromyalgia Triggered By Whiplash

Dear Alexa

I was involved in a serious road traffic accident in January 2011. As a result, I developed fibromyalgia, diagnosed in September 2011, which began as very severe whiplash of the neck with lower back pain. Before the accident I occasionally suffered from neck and back pain. I never thought it was particularly serious as it came and went. The pain never affected my day to day life except for the odd day off work. I was still able to continue with my hobbies that included playing football, although since the accident I can no longer do so due to the fibromyalgia. I have also had to give up my job and I rarely go out anymore.

Will my previous medical history make it impossible to show that the accident triggered my fibromyalgia? What would I have to show in order to link the accident to my fibromyalgia?

Barry

Dear Barry

I am very sorry to hear about your road accident and that you subsequently developed fibromyalgia.

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Pre-accident neck and back pain will not necessarily mean that the accident did not trigger your fibromyalgia or make it impossible to prove.

What the doctors will need to find is that the pain was different or that it became significantly worse following the accident. The pain would also need to have persisted for at least six months following the accident and have spread to all four quadrants of your body for fibromyalgia to be diagnosed. From what you have told me this does appear to be the case with your accident-related injuries.

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Even if the neck and back pain following the accident was similar to the pain before the accident, you may still be able to make claim if you can show that the accident exacerbated (made worse) your symptoms. A claim may also be possible even if you would have developed fibromyalgia without the accident occurring if the accident caused your fibromyalgia to develop sooner that it would have otherwise done.

These are matters for the rheumatologists to consider, although we would have a much better idea after reviewing your medical records.

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Alexa Robbins

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