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Adrienne Dellwo

Fibromyalgia & Childhood Abuse: What's the Relationship?

By October 4, 2010

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It's one of those stereotypes that many people with fibromyalgia (FMS) struggle against -- that childhood abuse is a cause or risk factor for our illness. A lot of research has been done showing high levels of abuse in the FMS population, but is it conclusive?

Two recent studies by the same German team caught my eye, and they both appear to refute many of the claims linking FMS and abuse.

Review of Studies: Looking through the available literature on FMS and abuse, researchers said that yes, these studies showed a correlation. However, they also said that bulk of these studies were low quality. And this is especially interesting: the lower the quality, the larger the overlap. This doesn't discount the correlation, but it certainly calls it into question and shows the need for high-quality research.

Role of Depression: Researchers looked at factors that might mediate an association between childhood abuse and FMS. The one thing they identified was depression -- fibromites who are depressed are more likely to have been abused as children. While it's safe to say abuse can lead to depression, we don't have evidence that either abuse or depression can actually cause FMS.

Unanswered Questions

We still have a lot to learn on this issue. First, it's important to remember that a link to abuse doesn't mean that abuse is a causal factor, and it certain doesn't mean it's "the" cause. (See Cause vs. Risk Factor in FMS.) Certainly, not all of us with FMS have suffered abuse, and doctors who make this assumption do us a great disservice.

Is abuse really more common in FMS patients than in the rest of the population? If so, why? A common (and highly controversial) theory is that childhood abuse leads to physical changes in the stress system which then contribute to FMS. Others have questioned whether physical injuries or chronic pain from abuse are responsible for the link.

If abuse isn't more common in us, all this research tells us is that people who were abused as children are more likely to be depressed as chronically ill adults. No surprise there.

What I don't want to do is ignore or discount the fibromites who believe their abuse contributed to their illness. Whether abuse is or isn't more common in us, I do believe that it can be a contributing factor. Anything that causes prolonged physical and/or psychological stress appears to raise your risk of FMS. Dealing with the psychological ramifications of abuse is unlikely to directly relieve FMS symptoms, but it may help with relieving depression and developing better coping skills.

What do you take away from this research? Do you believe abuse is an important risk factor for FMS? Do you think the link has been overstated? Leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!


Photo Sharon Dominick/Getty Images

October 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm
(1) fibrorager1 says:

I was abused mentally and physically. I suffered neglect and emotional difficulty while young. I believe this stress situation trained my core chemistry (DNA) to respond with ways that would protect my survival short term. As an adult, I was in an accident that I believe ‘triggered’ the old system. Suffering as a child is one thing, but knowing that suffering lingers today physically is a drag. I am healing myself, but it will be a long while before all the aspects of this disorder are made clear in my own head.

October 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm
(2) WhatMeBack says:

I was abused as a child and it has crossed my mind that there could be a link. What I don’t understand is why I developed FM when I was the happiest in my life? No depression, No anger, No regrets….my life was perfect…then wham…FM/CFIDS.

October 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(3) Beatrice says:

Hi There,
This issue has really been crossing my mind later. I host a Fibro group in my area and have talked with a quite a few people (especially women) that had been abused as children or had other MAJOR emotional traumas as children…I am starting to think there may be a link…you know that when you have had so much stress in your life as a child, what happens to you as an adult ??? – Fibromyalgia / CFS ….
I know that I have and I feel like my body has pooped out and is replaced with physical pain of Fibro …. every day is a challenge and every day I try to get strong(er)…
I hope that more research will be done in this area…especially since anti-depressants seem to help many fibro sufferers, myself included….
Blessings to all ,
Beatrice :)

October 5, 2010 at 8:40 am
(4) phylor says:

I’ve had chronic depression since childhood; I inherited the clinical depression from my mother. So, I definitely see a link between depression and fibromyalgia. I was depressed BEFORE I developed chronic facial pain in 1998. The increase in pain levels, then developing fibromyaglia-like symptoms as time went on, have added to the depression. Anyone who is chronically ill can slip into depression — it’s understandable why they might.
I’ve found the possibility of a link between childhood abuse and fibromyalgia interesting and something I think should be studied further. Just as a link between depression and fibromyalgia could be investigated, too.

October 5, 2010 at 10:54 am
(5) julie says:

i was so thrilled to see this article. Because as a child i was physcially abused mentally and emotinally abused by my mom.

Now that iam a adult i have been diagnosed with cfs and fm.

I was so happy and had such a wonderful life and active life untill about two years ago when i found out that i had such a severe case of cfs and fm. It seems as though family members still want to carry the emotional abuse with me so i have decided to give them up completely.

October 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm
(6) FOGMOM says:

I think the common link between abuse, depression and illness and all the others things that seem common to those with FMS is the stress it puts on the nervous system and brain. We keep looking at these things as individual causes why not look at what they have in common. Does the body responds to stress the same no matter where it comes from? If so how do we reduce the stress on children so they don’t develope this disease?

October 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm
(7) Mrs.G says:

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 2 years ago and suffered went undiagnosed for at least three years prior. I was never abused as a child nor did I experience depression or any major injuries. As far as abuse being a contributing factor to some people’s development of FM I wouldn’t be surprised it is after all a very traumatic event, and trauma can lead to the onset of FM. I find this research interesting but I don’t think it should be generalized to all FM sufferers. Each person with Fibromyalgia is unique. We each suffer different symptom sets and have different ways of treating our disease. I would imagine that we each have a different reason why we developed FM as well. As I’ve heard before fibromyalgia is a designer disease it designs itself differently for each person.

October 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(8) Keri says:

This is the first time I have heard of the possible connection of child abuse with cfs and cf. I find it all very interesting, as I was abused as child. I can see how this could all be related… But I had 15 or more great years before I was hit with this. I have a hard time understanding how this can happen after changing my life around!
I was also wondering if anyone has ever noticed that their symptoms are more pronounced during the change of the seasons.

October 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm
(9) Flowergrower says:

My sister was born with tumors that were not discovered until after my birth, 5 years later. She died the week after my 6th birthday after years of surgeries. Needless to say my household was not a normal one with a hospital bed in the living room. The fall she died, I had my tonsils removed and had measles and chicken pox. My holistic doc feels my immune system collapsed. By 3rd grade, I missed almost 30 days of school due to feeling unwell. By the age of 10, I suffered from skin allergies and headaches. The list goes on and on. I truly feel a traumatic childhood, in my case, a mentally unstable mother and a very sad home, definitely contributed to my lifelong FM plus all the nasty medical issues that can accompany it.

October 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm
(10) shastadaisy says:

I was abused emotionally and physically by my mother until I finally graduated from high school and married the boy next door just so I could get out from under her control. I stayed married to him, even though I didn’t love him, for 10 years. I left him and stayed single for 8 years. When I remarried again it was to a man that abused me emotionally. He was very domineering and cold. It was after I got married for the second time that I started having the symptoms that turned out to be FM. Two years after our wedding I came down with a really bad intestinal infection and then I had to have a total hysterectomy. That was when my systems really started. After I went back to work I would be so tired I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. The I got to where I could hardly get out of bed. My husband said I was just trying to get out of working and that he wasn’t going to work while I stayed home doing nothing. I was diagnoised with FM. In 2000 he left me for another woman. I found out he had been using an online dating service for several years. I could go on and on about what he put me through, on top of what I went through with my mother. I truly believe all this contriubted to my FM. No one else in my family has it or even heard of before I was diagnoised.

October 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(11) cynthia eftis says:

If large groups of fibromyalgia sufferers were not abused as children then I think it is highly unlikely that child abuse is a causative factor – a contributing aggravating factor to some patients maybe. I don’t believe stress is a cause either. This type of research takes us all back in time to when “it was all in your head”. I wonder if this study was sponsered by a pharmaceutical company that sells antidepressants.

October 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm
(12) Janet V. says:

I was sexually abused and tortured by my father between the ages of 2-12. The abuse left me with both physical and emotional scars and after many intensive years of therapy in my 30s I was able to deal with those emotional issues. However in my 40s I became very ill and was diagnosed with CFS and FM. I believe there is a strong relationship between CFS/FM and childhood abuse. Years of fear and pain must take their toll on the body somehow.

October 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(13) Robin says:

It is very interesting and something I’ve thought about. I was abused physically, sexual, and emotional as a child. I was raped as a teen, and didn’t know how to deal so for many years I did alot of drinking and drugs. I’d also like to know why my fibro didn’t show up until I turned my life around, started a family, and was very happy with my life?

October 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm
(14) Sita says:

I am not so sure about a link. I’m not saying there isn’t a link but I think it might be more about the stress and the possible depression that would follow any type of abuse.

I was raped in my early 20s but I’ve been dealing with it pretty well since. When I got fibro it was sudden and out of the blue. I did have a job I was stressed in (hated it and my boss was trying to get me fired all the time cause she hated me) but other than that I was really happy. I had just started school, had a happy relationship of a few years (we are still together, happy, and married 11yrs later), and then *bam* I was sick. Fibro symptoms hit me like a ton of bricks.

Before that I did have some pain and headaches but nothing I thought was worth mentioning to the doc and nothing like what hit me then. I was having such pain that it was affecting the way I walked. My doc rushed an MRI cause she was concerned it was MS since it was so out of the blue.

I’ve met other folks with fibro that have been abused but I’ve also met folks that haven’t been abused with fibro. It’s so varied that I don’t think the docs should assume that if you have fibro, you’ve been abused. I once had a doc ask me if I’d been abused or raped or had some other trauma because I mentioned having fibro and once I said yes it was like she just decided that was the reason I had fibro. Totally discounted everything else. Good thing I wasn’t seeing her for fibro treatment!

I think having bad spinal meningitis as a baby (mom didn’t remember if it was viral or bacteria, she just said that I was extremely sick and everyone was worried about me) had more of an impact on my health and getting fibro than being raped when I was around 23 did. The assault may have triggered it but it also may not have. I didn’t get sick until around 5 years later.

October 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm
(15) edwards29 says:

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I, an only child, was emotionally abused as a child by my mother, who also was an emotionally abused child. My dad also had psychological problems (alcoholism, etc.), as did his parents. My folks were incapable of teaching me the social skills necessary to live and work with others, and after 10 years of horrendous emotional stress in absolutely every area of my life after I left home, I developed CFS or FM (docs differ on diagnosis). I finally had to quit work and go on Social Security Disability at a fairly young age.

I believe that my inability to cope with the stressors in my life knocked out my immune system and allowed the responsible pathogen to take over. In the ’80′s, when the “yuppie flu” first was noticed (later called CFS), it was reported that those coming down with it were high-strung, success-ladder-climbing, A personality types, i.e., STRESSED!

October 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm
(16) aidan walsh says:

i have never heard something so stupid as a link to abuse/cfids… some of these researchers are really disturbed people… to think, that the low amount of money spent on research on this chronic physical illness and some of it is spent on these useless theories… no wonder answers are not found… i think studies or even stupid topics should not be posted on these info sites… i think we should all come together and ban these phyco-babblers for good… i want to hear about cause(s) and treatments not b.s. stupidness… not to worry all because a treatment is suppose to be very near around the corner and it is physical and will finally shut these phycopaths up once and for all and time to file those huge lawsuits and criminal prosecutions… if they think they are getting away with this, they have another thing coming… a nice prison cell for a long time for a lot of them… not to worry a lot of them now are under police investigations and their heads will spin… maybe now for them once in prison they will see some abuse… “welcome to the jungle”… i spoke to a criminal prosecutor yesterday and he tells me all their plans are working out well in their criminal cases……

October 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm
(17) Charmagne LaPrise says:

My Mom had “Fibrocytis”, diagnosed in the 1950′s. There was no treatment for her and life was difficult
painful, depressing.
Perhaps a research study could include the factor of inheritance of the disease but also the cause of physical or mental abuse of children by parents with the disease.

October 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm
(18) Dawn says:

I endured a variety of abuses as a child. Sexually molested by a neighbor boy. Mental, physical and emotional abuse by both parents. I’ve had difficulty maintaining intimate relationships, married and divorced 3 times. Honestly I never believed that the abuses had any effect on me other than to be more aware and involved as a parent myself. I don’t have any emotional attachment with the abuses or abusers, they are just facts that occurred in my life.

However, when thinking about the various symptoms of fibromyalgia I have been having symptoms since childhood and my teenage years. It’s an interesting theory corrolating the two together.

October 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm
(19) Joan says:

If you say that childhood abuse is THE CAUSE of FMS than you are saying that it is psychological…NOW won’t all those doctors who have been telling us its all in our head love that??? Everyone goes thru trials and tribulations in life including myself but I caught MONO then I was tested positive for the epstein barr virus among other viruses and dx with CFIDS when I was 28 working as a NURSE in ICU. Im now 55..since then I have been dx with FM..Sjogren’s Syndrome had 6 blood clots Parvo Virus and I can guarantee you that is not psychological it is all real…and its not a result of a bad childhood or marriage…We also blame childhood abuse on pedophiles and serial killers…a history of child abuse does not CAUSE A DISEASE..OF COURSE ALL THOSE SHRINKS WOULD LIKE US TO THINK THAT AND THINK WHAT WE HAVE IS ALL IN OUR HEADS…I THINK NOT….DON’T FEED INTO IT!!!!

October 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm
(20) Ozstar says:

deep, chronic psychological stress does produce physical outcomes, all us FM sufferers know that

October 9, 2010 at 3:21 am
(21) Debbe says:

I am absolutely positive that my FMS is caused by childhood abuse and neglect. At the tender age of nine I became the adult in the family, with two younger siblings to care for. I saw and experienced things that NO child should. The emotional abuse continued into my adulthood. But I continued on, vowing that my children and grand-children would never go through these things. Then ten years into my marriage, an emotional trauma sent me into a nervous breakdown. This was a severe truama. It took 4 years of therapy and an anti-depressant to get me half normal again. And then the FMS kicked in. So no matter what research finds, you won’t convince me that it did not start with emotional trauma.

October 9, 2010 at 7:17 am
(22) Dawn says:

Cannot constant abuse lower our immune system? It sounds plausible to me. Admittedly my childhood was like living in a concentration camp or moreso like being an animal stuck in a cage that was constantly being poked,struck,tormented, and laughed at. It also continued somewhat into adulthood and I ended as much of it as possible only to be looked at as the crazy one who refuses to talk to her mother. My children have also misunderstood my illness and allowing them to watch people hurt me seems acceptable to them. I understand why suicide is the third reason why those of us with fibro/cfs die. It is an unending cruel isolating virus that has stolen our lives. We are not crazy or lazy!! No one chooses to be in bed eighteen hours a day! GOD BLESS THE FAMILY WHO FUNDED THE RESEARCH THAT FOUND THE XMLV VIRUS!! THANK YOU!!! FINALLY, PROOF!

October 9, 2010 at 9:39 am
(23) ta2dlady says:

I was diagnosed with FMS nine years ago, at age 49.
I was sexually abused at age 6 and emotionally abused by my father for years, from as early as i can remember…had an irritable bowel in second grade, insomnia at 12 and depression and attempted suicide at 16. Depression again reared its ugly head at 23 and once more when my daughter turned six. I believe the abuses contributed to changes in my body, and basic brain functioning, and immune system, which in turn laid the groundwork for FMS. The triggers were : (1) developing tendonitis in both knees from the constant shocks of walking and working on concrete at a job I truly loved; and then (2) being exposed to pesticides when the sprayer (who was dressed up in the space suits they wear to protect themselves) started spraying in a closed greenhouse and did not realize i was there.
So yes, i think there is a relationship between childhood abuses and later-in-life FMS/CFIDS. I believe they set the stage for a trigger or triggers to set off the syndromes.

October 10, 2010 at 9:43 am
(24) cynicalsis says:

I was abused at age 6 by my father but repressed until age 64 and suffered quite a series of tragic events in my life including marrying a pedophile who abused my child….my fibro did not appear until age 51 with menopause and a severe case of shingles; afterwhich I started having ptsd about my own childhood….interesting how much the body can deal with and I believe there is a point where it just can’t anymore and the nervous system collapses and gets flooded with hormones….It does not explain when everything has been dealt with and life is on an even keel, why this aggravating condition does not go away; no doctor can answer that and some still cling to that nonsense; and I quote, look in the mirror and tell yourself you have a problem and deal with it”
I have been dealing since age 30 with some good therapists but most of them inconsequential…..

October 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm
(25) bscollett says:

I wonder how many people have had provirus.don’t give in to the psychological childhood abuse study..I know it is not in my head.would love a cure or a cause.chronic stress may be a factor of the immune system but what makes some people dealing with the same factors have it and some not??need more study.don’t let drug manufactors control the studies!!!!be very careful where the info comes from.money talks .politians are bought too.hope more physical defination comes into play…something is wronge with my body and I would appreciate an answer..how to cure?need more awareness to get support of fm/cfs..maybe just maybe a cure ..how many people who are not abuse is commenting?what is ratio?could be interesting but it has to do with body changes due to what?stess?virus?

October 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(26) Kaz says:

I was sexually abused by my dad from the age of 11 for 4 years – every night. At 16 I got something like glandular fever, at 17 I got my first prolapsed disc, at 18 I left home and was happy for 3 months before it all came crashing down on me.

I never recovered from the virus at 16, got PTSD, depression, loads more prolapsed discs and various relapses which would knock me out for months and then eventually years. From the age of 18 I told every Dr I saw about the abuse, said I still didn’t feel over it, always felt ill and asked for help, I NEVER got any help or advice.

Now at 39 I have finally been diagnosed with CFS and am in a wheelchair. If your immune system is knocked by stress then you are more likely to catch something like a cold. So why do so many people get so stroppy at the idea that abuse, leads to a depleted immune system and that eventually you can catch something?

PTSD is caused by an over-reacting amygdala, after being on hyper-alert for decades, of course something broke. Many believe there is a connection with CFS and the amygdala, so its hardly a fantasy to see some connection.

Yes I know this is about Fibro, but I had a few years with symptoms that seemed to be fibro before the CFS kicked in harder. Anyone who thinks the possible link between childhood abuse and CFS/Fibro thinks we are saying the link is psychological, obviously knows nothing about the immune system – which can be affected by many things.

October 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm
(27) Kaz says:

Part 2
Stress can cause heart attacks, but you don’t see people saying heart attacks are psychological in origin do you?

I feel strongly about this for obvious reasons but also because I feel very unwelcome in some forums where people shout that CFS and abuse have no connection and try to make out that people like me and bringing disrepute on the science.

If CFS/fibro can be caused by a virus then many things can cause you to be susceptible to that virus. So stop shutting us out because – believe me – we have been through enough already.

I do feel welcome here, its a wonderful site and its great to see people who understand that CFS/Fibro can be caused by many things – which all lead to the same thing.

October 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm
(28) Cynthia Armistead says:

There is research showing a genetic predisposition to substance abuse in some people, and that the same genes are expressed in other ways in others – for instance, males are more likely (because of socialization, apparently) to express themselves through substance abuse, while females are more likely to be depressed. Both often show up in families where we see cycles of child abuse of all kinds as well as other violence.

I’m not a professional of any sort, so I’m probably not stating things clearly enough, but I have read a lot of the research. I come from some of those families, and my daughter and I both have FMS, so I’m very interested in the question of whether or not there is a genetic predisposition or not.

I have come to think that it takes both nature and nurture, in this case – or both the genetic predisposition and either a major stressor or significant long-term stress to kick the FMS switch “on.”

In any case, nobody is indicating that it’s in our heads. Related to the neurological system, yes – but the neurological system spreads through the entire body.

October 31, 2010 at 3:35 pm
(29) foxy's mom says:

I am totally convinced that the real, continuous stress caused by abuse, whether physical or emotional from early childhood certainly does contribute to the symptoms, if not the actual cause of Fibro/CFS. Why? Because any kind of stress on my 62-year-old system triggers a flareup

December 11, 2010 at 10:40 am
(30) jade says:

hi i did have an abusive childhood, whether that contributed or not reains unclear, but i know stress does cause fibro, as i was really really healthy and well ( ihad suffered clinical depression about 8 yrs earlier, too), was healthy and eating well, exerciseing etc, when my good friend was brutally murdered, and my neighbour hung herself all in the same week. within weeks i was so sick, and eventually got the fm diagnosis.

December 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm
(31) clevergirl says:

I can’t speak for every sufferer obviously but for me the link was there and I have proven it. I had an abusive childhood and then suffered from severe Fibro, so bad that I was bedbound a lot of the time. Through intensive therapy (reliving and grieving my childhood pain), my fibro is almost gone and I’m looking forward to getting back to work next year. I would say to anyone wondering..what have you got to lose? If you explore it and it isn’t the case for you, then ok, but if there is something there that you need to let go of, you could possibly regain your life and your health. Yoyr life is going to pass by anyway, whether you look into it or not, so why not be open minded enough to try.

March 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm
(32) Sinita says:

I have been abused as a kid (sexually from a schoolfriends dad as well as from a neighbour over a longer period of time) emotionally from my dad and physically from my mum, so for me there is a link with fms and abuse. during my teenage years I had about 8 years where I had nightmares for about 4 nights per week on average and I read somewhere that there appears to be a link with developing fms when your sleep gets interrupted on a regular basis over a longer period of time…which certainly was the case in my case.

But on the other hand I use to keep telling myself that I have it from a car accident aged 8 where I had a concussion after I was hit by a car, as that simply gives the abuser less power over my life today….

March 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm
(33) James says:

My wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about seven years ago, and she was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by her father for years. She also had bulimia in her late teens into her early twenties. She has had counseling but I suspect she could use more.

I agree with the ones who say that there is a connection to past abuse. I have always suspected it. Yet I also think a physical reason enters into it. As for a lowered immune system due to trauma, it is very possible IMO because she seems to always be effected by some physical symptom. And that is before her fibro diagnosis.

March 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm
(34) Debbe says:

Yes, James, I agree with you. I believe that at a certain point, the emotional and/or physical abuse, or PTSD, is too much too bare (especially if it is on-going) and it alters us phsically. Our mind just doesn’t know what else to do. I want to give you some praise for being an understanding husband, and also for educating yourself to better understand what your wife is going through. We who suffer with this need more spouses like you. God bless you both!

March 18, 2011 at 11:12 am
(35) Kim says:

I was emotionally abused by my father as a child. It has taken so much work to overcome the fallout. I, too, experienced the sudden emergence of fibromyalgia symptoms at a time of happiness. I have a history of physical manifestation of stress starting with stomach aches and headaches as a child (also the ‘stomach migraines’ now recognized as a childhood precursor to classic migraines that emerge in teen or adulthood.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 4 years ago but only in the past couple of days I’ve realized there may be a link. I’m wondering if I confront my abusive father if that will have a positive impact on my fm. I think it’s worth a try.

October 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm
(36) Ozstar says:

I was sexually abused by a neighbour when I was 12, it was impossible to discuss with my parents as i was physically and emotionally abused by them both, the one person I felt comfortable with died one month before this happened, it took me almost 29 unfortunate years to come to terms with this, and recall that I actually had not consented and I did fight back

October 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm
(37) James says:

I have sympathy for those who suffer from fibro, and I especially am sad that it may be connected to some traumatic abuse in the past. I recently was talking with someone who massages many individuals with fibromyalgia, and she said that she has never met one yet who did not have some major sexual abuse in the past…and this includes her own mother.

Another question I have..how many of you have flareups after a emotionally draining or very stressful day? I know I am starting to see a connection like this with my wife. It usually is because the event emotionally reminded her of the past abuse she suffered.

Anyone else have that connection?

November 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm
(38) FM Survivor says:

My opinion is, if someone has had abuse in their past that is affecting them currently, then there may be a “causal” relationship. In my personal situation, I believe my FM is due to resurfacing memories of sexual abuse over the course of 3-4 years. The trauma of flashbacks, memories, night terrors, PTSD, and other offshoots were so horrific and constant. When they finally eased up, I believe my body had been so traumatized by it all that it just crashed. I also have chronic fatigue-I can only stay awake during the day if I take medicine. I believe that FM can also be caused by sickness and other forms of stress and trauma.

November 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm
(39) FM Survivor says:

After reading through most of these posts, I see that so many of you are not only sexual abuse survivors, but survivors of incest as well. I thought it might be nice to have a place to chat further so I am inviting all of you to join my facebook page “On Wings of Hope.” It is a private group, so just send a request and I will set you up. Please read the info first tho, I want it to be a safe place. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105125686185978&v=wall

June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm
(40) GG says:

I was also abused and had a terrible childhood (rather a lack of), but I believe I have had FMS since I was young. I had health problems as a child and was constantly ill, but I’ve had the pain, chronic fatigue and the pressure points from as far back as I can remember. I was told that it’s all in my head & have had numerous doctors prescribe antidepressants (which only made me sick) until I found an excellent Rheumatologist who has helped me a great deal.

I know for myself, my episodes come and go and really aren’t triggered by anything from my past. I can have a wonderful day or evening (and not over do it) and be in a great mood and experience a flare up that keeps me up all night.

August 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm
(41) always2tired says:

Severe physical abuse, neglect and emotional trauma, sexual abuse. I’ve had migraines since age 8. Sciatica including numbness that would drop me to the ground at the same age, and severe spasms in the neck/shoulder that would wake me screaming since age 9. Fibro came on at age 22 following a relatively minor car accident. My own theory is that my chronic state of stress/fight or flight just kind of burned out my system and I am stuck in an acute state of stress that causes me chronic pain. This of course in addition to the physical injuries from being kicked in the back of my body and my head and thrown down stairs, etc. Yes, and emotionally stressful day will increase my pain and my fatigue.

September 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm
(42) linz says:

I was sexually abused as a small child. Then my step mom abused me mentally, physically, and emotionally for 13 years. I felt like cinderella… im 26 and have had fibro for a year. Its difficult to deal with. Nobody understands what its like unless they have it. All i think is why am i dealing with this because of other peoples mistakes. I was happy got married and everything and now i feel like the world has came crashing down on me. My dr says “you have to learn to deal with it cause you will have it for the rest of your life.” Thats the worst part. I cant live my life when im in pain all the time and depressed because of the pain. What kind of ” quality of life” is that? Therefore im not sure what causes this but i hope eventually someone figures out a cure! :(

January 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm
(43) Laura says:

I was raped by my brother in law. I lost my mom when I was 11. My children were molested by their father. I have fibro and so does my oldest daughter. My sister was abused as a child and has it. My niece has it to. Could it be from the abuse because we were all abused as a child. When I am stressed it starts acting up. When I lost my father two years ago. My fibro was so unbearable. I couldn’t get out of bed from the stress and pain.

March 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm
(44) Chele says:

I was just like Wantmeback2……I was fine never thought about the abuse as a child or my 2 exs that was physical and mentally abusive….just a couple of yrs ago.; I started getting really sick and hurting hurting all over and starting of all the things that happened to me in the past.
I have been treated for FM for the past 2 yrs

May 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm
(45) Eric says:

Turned 50 and a history of FM since early 30. Yes abused and I really think there is a connection.

May 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm
(46) Lillian says:

Since any prolonged or intense period of stress can weaken the system or trigger fibromyalgia, I don’t see how someone with the genetic disposition can be abused without the abuse contributing to the eventual emergence and intensity of fibromyalgia.
For those of you who manifested during happy times it seems plausible that eustress is as much a trigger as negative stress.
I was emotionally abused by my father and consequently spent seven years from 7 to 14 in a dark depression. I broke away from him when I was 17 and continue to struggle with managing my depression. I was diagnosed at 23 with fibromyalgia. My mother, who had to go through the same abuse manifested fibromyalgia at the peak of the custody battles.
I don’t feel that abuse is any more linked than any other kind of stress or cause for depression but: Yes, it can totally trigger fibromyalgia.

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July 12, 2013 at 2:43 am
(48) Suzi says:

Having been abused both mentally and sexually as a child, and both mentally and physically as an adult I firmly believe Fibromyalgia is associated with this prolonged stress situation growing up, and into adulthood. I was in a severe accident in 1988, then abused from 1991 till 1998 as an adult. My Fibromyalgia began after all the injuries and stresses at a time when I was happiest that I have ever been in my life. Maybe it is our bodies reacting to the previous stresses, made worse by the injuries of adulthood.

August 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm
(49) Mindy Lu says:

I too was abused as a child, my father beat my mom and I and my Doberman. He emotionally abused mom, and sexually abused myself. He also tried to rape several of my aunts. He died when I was 10. My mother would get drunk and tell stories of what an ugly fat stupid baby I was. She said she would strangle me until I lost my breathe and then let me breathe just before I passed out, this started when I was still bottle fed, under 2yrs old. She threw me against walls, spat on me, and emotionally abused me all her life with me. she’s been gone 21 yrs but still my life is alone and miserable. I am bi polar, a recovering addict (clean over 25 yrs), I have FM, CFS, and Reoccurring Epstein Barr, still obese. My husband also beat me and smashed me into walls and sat on me banging my head into the floor. TG he died too. I am 65 and have had years of therapy but can’t shake the child abuse.

March 15, 2014 at 7:51 am
(50) Pru says:

When I read in my research of FMS that 80-90% were women, it got me thinking that there could be a link. I also was sexually abused by step fathers while young. I did not develop symptoms until in my 40s, but was in an unhappy marriage and had children who I worried about because the abuser was still around. I do think more research needs to be done in this area and have actually been in denial that I have it for over 20 years. It comes with such a negative feeling for me, that people will think it’s all in my head, that I just did not want to think that I have it. I’ve been searching for a “real physical” cause for years. It’s so hard to shake that feeling that I should be able to just make it stop, that somehow I am weak for having this!

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