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Connection between PTSD and Fibromyalgia

20 Oct
Could you provide me with the research citations for making the connection between PTSD and Fibromyalgia? I have looked around on your website and I can’t seem to find them…
Belleruth:

I found your seminar on Imagery for Healing, Stress & Trauma to be extremely helpful. (I attended the one here in Houston that past weekend.) Thank you for a stimulating presentation! I found it to be helpful both professionally and personally. This appears to be "the way it works..."

I wonder if you could provide me with the research cites for making the connection between PTSD and Fibromyalgia. I have looked around on the web and I am apparently not accessing the information that you were talking about. I am also interested in where you found the statistic that 57% of people diagnosed with PTSD also have Fibromyalgia.

Thanks again! I appreciate your good work and assistance.

Judy K, ACSW, LMSW-ACP, CEAP



Dear Judy, If you still want to explore this more extensively after reading my answer, go to the PILOTS database and search under keywords: fibromyalgia, trauma.[http://www.trauma-pages.com/pg3.htm ] Here are some relevant citations and a one-sentence abstract about each:

Alexander, Ronald W; Bradley, Laurence A; Alarcon, Graciela S; Triana-Alexander, Mireya; Aaron, Leslie A; Alberts, Kristin R; Martin, Michelle Y; Stewart, Katharine E. Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia: association with outpatient healthcare utilization and pain medication usage. Arthritis Care and Research, v. 11, no. 2, pp. 102-115 (April 1998). [57% of FM patients reported a history of sexual/physical abuse, which is significantly greater than what is found in people with no history of abuse . (P less than or equal to 0.025).]

Pall, Martin L. Common etiology of posttraumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity via elevated nitric oxide/peroxynitrite. Medical Hypotheses, v. 57, no. 2, pp. 139-145 (July 1, 2001). [Three types of overlap occur in symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and PTSD, and elevated levels of nitric oxide and its potent oxidant product, peroxynitrite, may be the culprit.]

Cohen, Hagit; Neumann, Lily; Haiman, Yehoshua; Matar, Michael Alex; Press, Joseph; Buskila, Dan. Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in fibromyalgia patients: overlapping syndromes or post-traumatic fibromyalgia syndrome? Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism (ISSN: 0049-0172), v. 32, no. 1, pp. 38-50 (August 2002) [This study shows a significant overlap between FM and PTSD; 57 percent of the FM sample had clinically significant levels of PTSD symptoms, according to the currently accepted diagnostic criteria for each.]

Sherman, Jeffrey J; Turk, Dennis C; Okifuji, Akiko. Prevalence and impact of posttraumatic stress disorder-like symptoms on patients with fibromyalgia syndrome . Clinical Journal of Pain (ISSN: 0749-8047), v. 16, no. 2, pp. 127-134 (June 2000). [Results suggest that PTSD-like symptoms are prevalent in fibromyalgia patients and suggests that failure to address these symptoms may impede successful treatment outcomes.]

Moore, Laurie Jo; Sager, Dan; Keopraseuth, Kham-One; Chao, Loo Hang; Riley, Chris; Robinson, Elizabeth. Rheumatological disorders and somatization in U.S. Mien and Lao refugees with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder: a cross-cultural comparison. Transcultural Psychiatry (ISSN: 1363-4615), v. 38, no. 4, pp. 481-505 (December 2001). [Of 89 patients seen in out-patient clinics, 95 percent had chronic pain, 88 percent had rheumatological diagnoses, and 53 percent had medically unexplained pain.]

I hope this helps. And, as I said, there’s more where that came from – either in the PILOTS database or over at PubMed.

All best,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award