Fibromyalgia Patients Should Be Evaluated for PTSD, Researchers Say

Fibromyalgia Patients Should Be Evaluated for PTSD, Researchers Say
Women with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain are more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared with patients with two stomach conditions (achalasia and dyspepsia), according to a new study. The study also showed a link between the severity of PTSD and the severity of pain among these patients. Women with fibromyalgia also reported more cases of childhood adversities compared with patients with one of the stomach conditions, but the link between these childhood events and the severity of pain could be explained by the presence of PTSD, researchers at the University Hospitals Leuven and KU Leuven said. Therefore, doctors should look into whether patients being examined for fibromyalgia have PTSD, since management of symptoms could impact the severity of pain and general functioning. The study, “Prevalence and impact of childhood adversities and post-traumatic stress disorder in women with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain,” was published in the European Journal of Pain. Several earlier studies have noted that patients with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain more often report emotionally or physically traumatic events during childhood compared with patients who have other chronic illnesses. However, few of these studies examined if these events were linked to PTSD. To do so, researchers enrolled 154 women with fibromyalgia or chronic widespread pain. In addition, 83 women with functional dyspepsia — a chronic
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  1. Katherine Johnson says:

    There also seems to be a link with childhood sexual abuse and autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. Makes you wonder what kind of long term damage is done to a developing brain and immune system from this kind of trauma.

  2. Shana says:

    I began my Fibro symptoms years before any traumatic events happened to me. This study smacks of when people (qualified or not) try to diagnose most people with widespread pain as having conversion disorder. Also why are the other group simply people with upper digestive tract disorders. The lower digestive tract is where the second highest concentration of serotonin is, Next only to the nervous system. And I’m sure there are any number of other diseases affecting other parts of the body (for instance, migraines or heart conditions) that would be more suitable for comparison. I don’t think this study proves anything at all.

    • Katherine Johnson says:

      I don’t think this means it’s “all in your head”. Especially when this is also true with autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. What it does reflect is the long term brain damage and immune system damage that results from childhood trauma. The problem is, despite this article’s suggestion for treating PTSD, there’s actually few effective treatments for PTSD out there. It’s as hard to treat as Fibromyalgia, with few traditional therapies have any effect. The other thing that’s difficult is that we have this fantasy in traditional medicine that mind/body/spirit function independently which is completely untrue. It’s more like a mosh pit, with everything affecting everything else. It’s easy to get offended after being screwed around so much after diagnosis, believe me, I get it, but there’s something to this issue. If nothing else it should make us, as a society to be more motivated to prevent childhood abuse/trauma, as the physical/mental/spiritual damage it causes is far reaching and very expensive for society as a whole.

    • Lynne says:

      I agree with you. It seems everyone, doctors included, want to “blame” other conditions for fibro. Maybe, just maybe, it is a stand alone condition that was never taken seriously for centuries. My PTSD happened years (10+) after my rheumatologist verified it. Oh and I had a textbook Norman Rockwell childhood, that still brings smiles to my face just typing this.

      • Katherine Johnson says:

        Some people get Fibro from an infection, and some get it from an accident, and some get it idiopathically, one is not more valid than another, but studies have shown folks that got Fibro from infection seem to be harder to treat and less responsive to meds. Perhaps the brain and immune system damage done to developing brains due to childhood trauma makes a certain segment of the population more vunerable to auto-immune diseases like Fibro, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. It doesn’t mean that everyone who has those illnesses has had trauma, it doesn’t mean that they are not a “real diseases”. All it means is that for those with Fibro that have had severe childhood trauma causing PTSD, treating the PTSD, which causes severe anxiety, hyper-vigilance and adrenal fatigue, might also improve their Fibro symptoms. I totally get that we’ve been dismissed as this is “all in your head”, but I don’t think that’s what they are saying here at all.

    • Lavinia says:

      Yes I’ve been on 5-HTP for about 18mths. Ive had crohnic long term fibro has help significantly with the depression but does nothing for pain. Glad its good for yours though

  3. Terri says:

    I was told by a very high credentialed Nutritionist that 5-HTP creates Serotonin that goes all over the body but Tryptophan targets only the brain sleep chemicals. I take it around 8 pm.

  4. Kathy says:

    OK. So, what constitutes childhood trauma? Falling out of a tree? Getting spanked? Falling off a bicycle? Getting smacked by a dirt clod? I would like to look at the form the people filled out.
    I am also wondering if fibro and Epstein barr Virus have any links.

    • Katherine Johnson says:

      The kind of trauma they are talking about in this article is severe trauma that causes PTSD. Personally for me that means being sexually abused from 6-9 years old. For some it’s severe physical abuse. Not mild forgettable incidents like falling out of a tree.

  5. AIDAN says:

    Functional disorder, Conversion disorder & PTSD Sorry I do not believe in any of these so-called labels at all…All of them are labels

  6. Bron says:

    I, too, am a very strong believer that many of us who have fibro, have experienced some form of Personal Trauma in our lives that either sets off/ exacerbates our condition. I for one, know that I did not get enough emotional support from family or Work coleagues after nursing my father with Terminal CA, and who wanted to pass from home. Hence the last 6 weeks for me was 24 hour, 7 days a week in attendance with Dad, and then went straight back to work in the ED where I worked. I,myself, did not realize the effect this would/had on me at the time.
    Perhaps if I had taken time off to grieve, and receive emotional help at the time, I may not have developed any of my Auto-immune conditions that developed after this time?? I also know of others who have developed Fibro from Traumatic Car Accidents, and who did not receive the emotional support that should have been given. Hence, there are Many types of Emotional Traumas/ PTSDs that can cause our condition.

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