Pain after an auto accident is expected, especially if bones are broken and surgery is required. However, when the injury is to the muscles and connective tissues of the body, the accident victim expects the pain to go away within a few days. Sometimes it doesn't, so what is going on in those victims in whom pain lingers and becomes permanent? Frequently, the answer is fibromyalgia.
The accident victim who has developed fibromyalgia usually experiences pain in multiple muscles throughout the body. It is not uncommon for the victim's family and friends and even some doctors, who are not well versed in trauma medicine, to question the truthfulness of the person in pain or to suspect the existence of a mental condition.
Fibromyalgia, however, is real. It's manifestation of pain in precise areas of the body is so constant regardless of whom is complaining of the pain that charts showing these trigger points have been developed by neurologists and pain management doctors. While the underlying cause of fibromyalgia remains a mystery, most researchers agree that fibromyalgia is a disorder of central processing in which the accident victim experiences pain amplification due to abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system.
According to Mayo Clinic staff, it is likely that genetic factors make some people more susceptible to developing the disorder after an accident or a stressful event and that once it develops they have increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. The brain's pain receptors seem to develop a memory of the pain and become more sensitive, in effect causing an overreaction to pain signals. Researchers have also concluded that the repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This involves an abnormal increase in neurotransmitter chemicals that signal pain. There, in fact, is the explanation for muscle pain that becomes permanent after an auto accident. Fortunately, there is hope.
If you want information about a website that can give you some help if you suffer from this pain, or if you want the names of doctors in this area who provide helpful treatment for this disorder, just call my office.