Fibro Triggers Part 2

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a teleconference support group for those interested.The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be time for questions and answers. After the phone support group each of you would receive a recording of the call.  If any interest, please e-mail me at and write support group in the description.

Fibro Triggers 2

As mentioned in the first post on triggers, traumas play a large part in the triggering of Fibromalgia. I’d like to specifically speak about Auto accidents.

Whiplash injures (even the name) has become a joke. The malingerer who yells whiplash etc. The fact of the matter is that a Whiplash injury is serious and ligaments and muscles in the neck and other parts of the body are pulled and torn to different degrees. This can lead to general instability in the neck and nervous system, among other parts of the body. Generally the most common immediate symptoms are headaches, stiffness pain and fatigue. However it is very well studied that symptoms can appear weeks and even months later. This is one of the reasons why Insurance companies are so eager to settle a claim as fast as possible. They are than off the hook.

I’ve, many times, seen the auto accident victims, where the claims has been closed but the symptoms start worsening over time and ultimately turn into Fibromyalgia. Therefore, I advise you never to settle a claim right away, no matter how much you are pressured by an insurance company or an attorney. Don’t let them dangle money in front of you as an incentive to settle the case. Wait at least a year.

Don’t be afraid to fight with the doc who says that you cannot be inured or that there is no relationship between an auto injury and Fibro, this is just plain wrong. Get another opinion, in fact demand another opinion. You are within your rights.

Many times the accident victim will be sent for an independent opinion to another doctor. This is called an I.M.E. (Independent Medical Evaluation). I strongly advise you to bring a friend or relative to the exam and have he or she in the room during the history and examination. If the Doctor refuses this, turn around and leave. You have every right to have another person in the room with you. Remember that Doctors who are paid by insurance companies to do these exams might have a conflict of interest. It is to their benefit to downplay the symptoms to make the insurance company happy. After all the insurance company is paying their bills. By the way, if you can’t bring a friend, bring a voice recorder and record the entire session, from history to exam. If the doctor says no, or you can’t immediately leave.

It is vitally important to do all that is necessary so you recover properly from an injury and so it does not ultimately trigger Fibromyalgia.

Lastly, the notion of a Whiplash injury being totally healed in 6 weeks is plain nonsense. It usually takes much longer than that and a person is never really 100% healed. With proper rehabilitation, they can get most of the way, but when there are any types of injuries to the body, there will always be some residual weakness. Think of the scar when you cut yourself. Scar tissue is never as strong as the original tissue.

Another of the triggers of Fibromyalgia fall more into a miscellaneous category with one thing in common. This is having your head and neck in extension for a prolonged period of time. In English, this means having your head looking in an up position (as if you were watching fireworks or an air show).

There are a number of ways this can happen and more often than not they lead to a flare (for people with Fibro), or  these can trigger the onset of Fibro.


Dental surgery, where your head is in this position while the Dentist is working on your teeth.

An exercise class where you are told to stretch your neck in different positions.

The Beauty Salon, where your head is being washed in the sink and, of course, your head is pushed back and upward.

A Chiropractic adjustment where your head and neck are twisted into that same position.

A physical therapy session, where again, the therapist is having you do stretches that cause this extension.

These are some of the situations where this might arise and it is best to avoid having your head in this position, at all costs. Dentists, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Beauticians can easily modify what they do to take this into account, but it is up to you to be aware of it and inform the person that you need to avoid that position.

Fibro Triggers Part 1

First an announcement!

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a telephone support group for those interested. The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that all conferences will be recorded and e-mailed to you after the call.  If interested, please e-mail me at and write support group in the description.

Tentatively:  Every Tuesday:          6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Fibromyalgia Triggers

Perhaps the most common trigger I see and have seen for years is trauma/stress. This can be one large trauma (bad auto accident), or many small traumas over a period of time. Continual stress also adds to the equation. An example would be nursing a loved one for years through cancer or other illness. The stress is so intense and you become so involved that you really don’t notice it.

Think of it as an empty glass, Each time you encounter stress or a trauma you’re adding more water to the glass. Ultimately the water level reaches the top and starts spilling over. This is when you begin to experience the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

From my experiences in the office, I always ask about prior traumas/stress. Sometimes there are enough to fill pages, other times, the patient cannot remember any incidents. I usually tell them that over time they will begin to remember and this is invariably the case.

Stress/trauma can be physical, emotional, sexual  or mental or a combination of any of these.

We’ve probably all know someone who was injured at work or in a car accident. Even though the person was showing symptoms, the company doctors or insurance companies would claim that the person could not have been injured and the benefits would be cut. (We know that the underlying job of an insurance company is to collect premiums and payout as little as possible. The difference being the profit.).The patients are now cut off from care, their symptoms increase and ultimately Fibromyalgia rears it’s head. (I’ve seen this again and again).

For you fibro sufferers, try to think back in time. The trauma could have occurred as a child playing sports, falling off a horse, an accumulation of minor fender benders etc. Think of divorce, problems at work, problems with parents etc.

The best statistics show that 22% of women in the U.S. are physically abused (battered), and more are emotionally and mentally abused. I can usually see this in the attitude of the husband who is very bossy, barks out orders to the wife and is not interested in the consultation, sometimes going as far as to read a newspaper while the wife and I are speaking. Sometimes the wife will appear to jump when the husband speaks. I’m not a psychologist, but I do know that spousal abuse is a huge problem and much more common than we know.

For those with Fibromyalgia, you’ve probably noticed that stress makes your symptoms flair up, thus it would make sense that trauma/stress can very well be a trigger for Fibromyalgia.

In some people there seems to be a genetic propensity for Fibromyalgia, not all people, just some. Please note that if you have Fibro, it does not mean that your children will get it. On the other hand if you have that genetic possibility, it still doesn’t not mean your child would get it, unless the child goes through a number of traumas and or stresses. Than he/she would be more likely than a child where the genes were not a factor.

I have seen identical twins in my office, both with Fibro except one girl started having symptoms at 9 years old and the other girl and 19 years old. There were long histories of physical traumas in both cases (falling off horses, contact sports, and some general teenage craziness).

I’ve also seen identical twins where one had Fibro pretty severely while the other had no sign of fibro at all.

One thing I hear again and again is that my adult Fibro patients told me that when they were children, they had pain in the legs and the doctors just dismissed it as growing pains. Thus if your child exhibits those symptoms, I would absolutely think Fibromyalgia and have him/her checked out. Hopefully it’s not Fibro!

Another trigger appears to be surgeries, when you are put to sleep under general anesthesia. I spoken to many many people who relayed that when they woke up they were either in severe pain and their fibro was flaring very badly, or they woke up with Fibro pain which they were experiencing for the first time. Than the rest of the symptoms started over the next days.

All general anesthesia implies a risk to life, though small, and a risk for flaring if you have fibro. If it can be avoided with a local, the better off you might be.

Friday: More Triggers