I recently read an article entitled How A Traumatic Brain Injury Can Lead To Fibromyalgia which I found fascinating considering many people believe that fibromyalgia can be caused by trauma. According to the author, “Any brain injury can result in garbled or mixed signals to the various centers in the body and thus result in a misdiagnosed case of fibromyalgia. The real question is, “Is fibromyalgia a result of a brain injury or another condition?” Doctors are divided on their beliefs as to the possibility of fibromyalgia being related to a brain injury.” So, as I stated before, just as doctors are divided about the possibility of fibromyalgia being related to a brain injury, they are just as divided as to whether fibromyalgia can be caused by any traumatic injury or event.
For anyone who has had a “bump on the head,” the article strongly recommends that no matter how “minor” the bump was to get evaluated and possibly monitored by a doctor to make sure that no trauma has been caused to the head. “Many patients complain of what is called ‘fibro fog’. [This is a common symptom of fibromyalgia.] This is the state in which the patient feels as if they are walking around in a fog and unable to fully wake up. While it could be the result of a dysfunction in the brain and the neurochemicals it may also be the result of some form of brain damage which has gone undetected.
It can also happen from long term chronic pain or inflammation. Occasionally, it is also a side effect of medication that brings on the fog feeling. Fibromyalgia and traumatic brain injury can happen so always check with your doctor if you’ve had a bump on the head.”
I am in no way posting this to scare you but to share one possible reason you can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Also, I wanted to share a bit of my personal story so that many of you can relate. I was born nearly two weeks late. My mother went through a difficult labor (she often reminds me that the pain was so bad she felt her eyeballs hit the ceiling), and I ended up getting stuck in the birth canal. I’m not quite sure how long I was in there but it was certainly enough to be worrisome. Because I was stuck, my mother’s OB decided to use forceps to help with the delivery. I came out okay, with a slightly misshapen head (which is often normal) and appropriate apgar scores. However, I was a “different” type of baby. I slept A LOT. More than the average baby of my age. My mother used to tell me that she couldn’t “get things done” because I was always sleeping (I know many parents would LOVE this option).
My motor skills were delayed (and some still are). I didn’t walk until I was 22 months old. I had trouble learning to ride a bike and I am clumsy. My ability to use my hands in a functional matter is still delayed. The example I often give is that I am unable to pick up a coin from a flat surface. My pincer grasp is immature, so the only way I can pick up that coin is if I slide it off that surface. At nine months old, I was taken to a neurologist because I had some developmental concerns. The doctor noted that I might have mild cerebral palsy but nothing was noted and nothing was done about it. That diagnosis was confirmed nearly 15 years ago as an adult. However, with my background as a special educator, it made sense. For those of you who don’t know what cerebral palsy is, as defined by dictionary.com: “a nonprogressive impairment of muscular function and weakness of the limbs, caused by lack of oxygen to the brain immediately after birth, brain injury during birth, or viral infection.” All of this is coming together isn’t it? Technically, I had a traumatic brain injury.
Now, I was only diagnosed with fibromyalgia 5 years ago. However, reflecting back, some of the symptoms have been there since I was a young child. I believe that my fibromyalgia, in its fullest form, was triggered by another traumatic event that occurred over 10 years ago. I don’t need to go into anymore details aside from the fact that it was post-surgery trauma.
So, this whole idea of traumatic brain injuries causing fibromyalgia is real to me. I don’t necessarily believe that it’s the only way that fibromyalgia can occur as I believe that fibromyalgia is still so much a mystery to the medical world.
Do you feel like your fibromyalgia was caused by a traumatic brain injury or rather a different type of traumatic injury or event? Do you need some help to reconcile what happened to you? I’m here to help! By now, if you’ve been reading my blog posts regularly, you’d know how to contact me. If not, you can drop me a line here. I look forward to hearing from you soon! =)
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.