International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
As part of International Fibromyalgia Awareness day, Melanie Burden, Partner at Simpson Millar who specialises in claims from accidents resulting in chronic pain and Fibromyalgia is taking the opportunity to raise awareness of this debilitating condition and how this can develop post-injury.
Fibromyalgia sometimes referred to as FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) is a painful and often life changing condition resulting in widespread pain all over the body and increased sensitivity to pain / tenderness when touched. It literally means pain (algia) coming from the muscles (my) and fibrous tissues (fibro) such as tendons and ligaments.
It can involve a cluster of many different symptoms including:
- Increased sensitivity to Pain (allodynia)
- Disturbed sleep
- Extreme Tiredness / Fatigue
- Very painful periods (in women)
- Muscle stiffness
- Impaired cognitive function (sometimes call Fibro Fog) which can cause problems with memory and concentration
- Restless Legs
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Psychological symptoms including depression and anxiety
Sadly there isn’t a single cure for the condition. Patients however, can benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment involving a combination of different pain medications, psychological therapy including CBT, trigger point injections, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and trigger point injections.
Fibromyalgia After an Injury
Mel continues: "There are many different causes of Fibromyalgia and often reaching a diagnosis is difficult, particularly as some of the symptoms could be caused by a different illness or disease.
I regularly act for clients who are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after an accident. I have found this tends to occur more frequently with accident mechanisms which have involved injury to the neck and back. The neck and back tend to be the most painful locations of pain that most people complain of.
I also act for clients who already suffered from Fibromyalgia before they had an accident where they have been able to control their symptoms prior to any accident. Some have experienced a really bad flare up of their pain and worsening of the condition following the accident.
Post traumatic Fibromyalgia can come on after a traumatic accident, including a traumatic brain injury and flexion injuries such as whiplash injuries. It is thought that any trauma to the Central Nervous System can trigger the onset of Fibromyalgia. Research has shown that as many as 20 to 25% of people suffering from Fibromyalgia had an accident shortly before the onset of their symptoms.
There is a wide range of opinion on the issue of whether Fibromyalgia can be caused by an accident. Certainly Defendants would have you believe that it is not real and they will go to great lengths to covertly video a sufferer to try and cast any doubt on their symptoms. This can be particularly upsetting and distressing for people already suffering from high anxiety levels when they become aware they are being filmed.
It is very much a lottery depending in which NHS region you live as to what combination of treatment you can access. Early treatment and intervention is recommended to help control and manage your symptoms.
If you believe you are suffering Fibromyalgia after an accident I would strongly recommend you contact a solicitor specialising in Fibromyalgia. It is particularly important as the skilled solicitor will know the correct type of medical expert professionals (often a whole team) who you will need to be sent to, to get opinion on the cause and extent of your symptoms and the most appropriate treatment for you.
We will then contact the Defendants to seek their agreement to fund a package of treatment tailored to your needs to help you on the road to recover."