Published in the July issue of the Journal of Rheumatology, the investigation determined that, even years after their initial diagnosis, persons who suffer from fibromyalgia demonstrated a car accident risk double that of the general population. Lead researcher, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a senior scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, noted these accidents were more than just mere fender-benders, but the type of accidents that sent victims to the hospital with injuries.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects approximately 400,000 Canadians and 5 million adults in America. The disorder causes disruptions in nerve function and is marked by fluctuating symptoms of joint stiffness, pain, fatigue, insomnia, and muscle pain.
While no cure currently exists, symptoms can be treated with stress management, alterations in lifestyle, and medication. Trauma induced by car accidents has been associated with the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms, however, the precise cause remains unknown.
The researchers examined hospital and insurance records of 137,631 adult fibromyalgia sufferers in Ontario from April 1, 2006 to March 2012.
The study determined that the test subjects were responsible for 1,566 serious car accidents in the year preceding their diagnosis. They were accountable for 738 accidents the year following a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
The study did not evaluate fault for the collisions, and there is no way of saying for certain that symptoms such as fatigue, pain, or stiffness contributed to the collision. Investigators, however, concede that it is more difficult to avoid a collision while suffering such symptoms.
While many previous studies have examined the link between car accident trauma and the onset of fibromyalgia, this is the first study of its kind to evaluate fibromyalgia as a cause of motor vehicle crashes.
Researchers ascertained the risk of crashes for drivers in the general driving population is about two per 1,000 motorists each year. For drivers with fibromyalgia, that risk is approximately five per 1,000 individuals per year. A patient’s risk increased significantly with co-existing psychiatric conditions such as depression. Those patients practicing a regimen of fibromyalgia care had a slightly reduced risk.
While fibromyalgia is not among those medical conditions used to restrict drivers’ licenses, this research indicates that it can pose a measureable danger to drivers. Those with fibromyalgia should never drive distracted and should always practice defensive driving techniques, such as obeying the speed limit, and signaling turns and lane changes.
The researchers hope this study will initiate conversations about driving while dealing with fibromyalgia, and identify more patients who can benefit from dedicated treatment.
Contact Our Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers
If you are suffering after a car accident, it is important to speak to an experienced and skilled Pueblo car accident lawyer immediately. Fibromyalgia patients, in particular, need someone on their side who can protect their rights to compensation. Insurance companies will likely use your preexisting condition to reduce your claim. They may even try to pin some of the blame on you. This is unfair – and we can help. Call Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.