Childhood Abuse related to fibromyalgia? What is your take?

By Lana Latest Activity May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm Views 3,937 Replies 32 Likes 4


Researchers at the University of Toronto say that they have found a link between childhood physical abuse and fibromyalgia. Their research indicates that abuse results in “functional somatic syndromes such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities in women.” (This is the link to the article:

“Women who reported they had been physically abused as children have twice the odds of chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, and 65 per cent higher odds of fibromyalgia” said lead investigator Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, who holds the Sandra Rotman Chair at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine.

“These findings persisted even after controlling for potentially confounding factors such as other adverse childhood experiences, age, race, mental health and adult socioeconomic status.”

The statistics comes from a 2005 Canadian Health survey “involving 7,342 women, 10 per cent of whom reported being physically abused as children.”

Of that 10%:

1.3 percent had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue;
2.5 percent had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia; and
2.7 percent have multiple chemical sensitivities.

So 6.5% of the women who reported abuse also reported CFS, Fibro and/or chemical sensitivities. The co-author (Joanne Sulman) of the study who is from the Department of Social Work at Mount Sinai, said that this researcher points to an association between childhood physical abuse. She further notes, “But perhaps the most interesting aspects of the research,” said Sulman, “are the questions it raises, such as the mechanisms that link physical abuse to chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities.”

What is your take on the subject? Obviously, we know that not all cases of fibromyalgia, CFS, and multiple chemical sensitivities are linked to childhood physical abuse but 6.5% is a pretty significant number. That would include 477 of the respondents. Think about that same percentage based on the number of people who have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple chemical sensitivities in the United States alone. That is a startling number.

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Replies (32 replies)

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  • jennipresswood
    jennipresswood May 22 at 1:12 am   
    Edited May 22 at 1:17 am by jennipresswood

    I don't think this is correct. I got fibro about a year after getting the anthrax vaccine in the military. I was told it wouldn't get worse and it did. they won't let me be part of the study about gulf war illness although they are very similar. honestly I think it's sexually transmitted and most of the time the guy's the carrier. my ex's girlfriend developed fibro too after some time with him. plus you can pass it down to your kids. it doesn't make sense how your kid can get it even though you don't have any history in your family. I had no injury when it came on I don't believe it to be from my childhood developing into what it is now many years later. I think we have legitimate illness that's caused by something more than experiences. it's funny cause it's all over the place now and it used to never be recognized. and that could be because it wasn't there or people overlooked it. I've heard tons of cures. none worked. plus if it was caused by trauma why does the weather effect my fibro?? and why is it continuing to worsen over time? I think they'd like to know what causes this but I think they're way off base. why would my feet hurt and be cold all the time? and why now after all of these years? nobody in my family has ever had this. I wasn't depressed or had any mental illness at the time. if it was true it's connected then I would think there'd be a way to talk it out of someone. all I know is I got the shots. a few months after I started noticing my leg muscles were deteriorating quickly. then I noticed I couldn't keep up. then I noticed i'd go to the doctor when the weather was cold for medicine but in the summer I was fine. but then it became all the time after awhile. and I continue to get worse with every passing year. someone said it was cause i'm just getting older. i'm only 44 and on disability. I really wish they'd figure this out so they can also find a good way to treat it. and if you really think about it every one has trauma in their life. I was hearing this blamed on a loved one dying. I think they're pulling out all stops for this to be another mental illness.

  • DonnaBoxi
    DonnaBoxi November 17, 2015 at 7:36 am   

    I think this is true. Spanking exploits a child's pain processing functions while their brains are still developing. I believe some children's pain processers can develop serious glitches when their pain is routinely used as a dreaded consequence. Physical pain actually exists in humans as a bodily warning system.—It is not meant to be intruded upon for use as a parental disciplinary convenience.

  • Timurtune
    Timurtune April 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm   

    I was never abused, never ever ever. However, I was slightly injured in a bunch of car wrecks over the years, never injured enough for hospitalization. In my early 20s, I suddenly developed problems with my hips sort of locking up (OMG it hurt to use the toilet!) Upon joining the Army, I managed to get several mild concussions during various training programs, and my hips flared up more often. Still, I've never been abused. At age 55, my husband told me to make sure to ask the doctor why I needed to sleep so much…I also asked about pain I'd been having in my hands. She diagnosed fibro right then and there! It really seems that my fibro stems from lots of little injuries over the years, no one major incident. BTW, a new study shows a huge increase in MALE fibro, as well as female; something happens over in Iraq & Afganistan!

  • Trudie Ann
    Trudie Ann June 9, 2011 at 3:29 am   

    I feel so sad when I read what every one who has answered this discussion has said. It brings tears to my eyes, and makes me so angry that anyone could be that cruel and perverted to harm a child in that way. I am grateful and thank God that I had a safe childhood. We were very poor, but we were taken good care of. My Mom went without sometimes to make sure we had enough to eat. I believe my fibro was a result of being rear-ended by a semi truck on interstate30. It was approx 2 mths. afterward that I was diagnosed. I never really got over it, I still have a big scar where it busted the back of my head open and my 2 ribs that were broken always ache. Even now to this day 20 years later. And where I had the shingles in Dec. was on my left side across the 2 ribs that were broken.
    God Bless us all.

  • amyspeer
    amyspeer May 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm   

    Physical abuse sexually abuse verbally mental abuse was an everyday part of my life you see I was not a wanted child if I understand correctly my parents wanted a boy. My mom tried to kill me daily. I was suicidal from the age of 14 and a half to the age of 24 I tried to kill myself over 600 times. . I still have many scars on my body from being a cutter I was told that if I would hurry up and die my mom could move on with her life so when I was a young I used to pray and ask God to give my cancer because I thought if I had cancer my mom would love me. When I was 12 years old I had some diseases that the doctors said would kill me before the age of 20 but God said No and I am still here today. On June 5th I will be 27 years old.

  • Trudie Ann
    Trudie Ann June 9, 2011 at 3:13 am   

    You are wanted now. We at this site appreciate and need you and any input you can add we all learn from other peoples experiences. I am truly saddened that you had to endure such mental and physical pain. God Bless you sweetheart.

  • Lana
    Lana May 19, 2011 at 8:19 am   

    We know that there is a correlation between fibro and auto accidents. What makes this topic any different?

  • Trudie Ann
    Trudie Ann June 9, 2011 at 3:14 am   

    THANKS: I agree totally, and I appreciate this input. I'm glad some one said it.

  • bockey
    bockey May 19, 2011 at 8:16 am   

    i was also sex abused when i was 6 t0 i was 13.i think that has something to do with my fibro.

  • Trudie Ann
    Trudie Ann June 9, 2011 at 3:15 am   

    I'm so sorry. God Bless You.

  • morningsunshine
    morningsunshine May 19, 2011 at 12:47 am   

    You have been thru so much, all negative, I'm soooo sorry! !!! Yet, you find good in most people and you are are so up-lifting, having such a good outlook in life. Bless you Janet…you are such a wonderful, caring person!!! May God have a special place for you waiting in heaven!!! (only when its your time) not a minute before!

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm   

    Thank you for your kind words, morningsunshine. You are in pain now from the fall, yet; you still have time to make others feel special, you are such a special person, I know you have a nice place in Heaven- but too, not before your time.

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm   

    I do too, then my dad signed for me to get married at 14 years old, and I got beat in my first 2 marriages, so yes I believe it has a lot to do with arthritis and fibro.

  • Ciddux
    Ciddux May 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm   

    i had fibromyalgia since i was 11 and i was never abused as a child at all. im not sure that 6.5% is that significant a number to be fair, i think they would need to do further trials into this claim.

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 18, 2011 at 1:00 am   

    I have sleep apnea along with Fibromyalgia, and I have been through abuse all my life, I would fall asleep on the couch before school, and I got woke up being beat, b/c my clothes would get wrinkled. I was younger than 8 years old, then. So…

  • BigWhiz
    BigWhiz May 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm   

    kittenpur1 i know how you feel

  • BigWhiz
    BigWhiz May 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm   

    I also was abused at a young age the doctor said I suffered from childhood depression that went untreated for years I have had Fibromyalgia for some

    37 years it has disrupted my life for years

  • bockey
    bockey May 19, 2011 at 8:25 am   

    i know how you feel when i was littlie i had know friend.i stay to myself.iwas scare of men.i hated men.when i got married i had 2 luck to have them i had trouble having them because of the abuse when i was little.i was miss up in side.but i carry both full trem.i luck i love my boys

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm   

    Angels were at your side during your deliveries, they know the abuse you suffered, they wrapped their arms around you, helped you, they knew you wanted your children, and God blessed you with them.

  • BigWhiz
    BigWhiz May 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm   

    I feel the abuse in my life did play a major part of my Fibromyalgia

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm   

    Also, my friend as a child went through some very horrific times, she has fibro, too- so, yes I believe it does effect people. My daughter had some rough times as a child- after her dad got custody, and she has it, too. So, It looks like we know what we are talking about.

  • BigWhiz
    BigWhiz May 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm   

    I also have sleep disorders I stay await hour after hour When I go to the doctor on Friday I am going to get some help My heart needs some rest

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm   

    strange a lot of people with fibro have sleep apnea too, and bouts of times when you just can't sleep.

  • BigWhiz
    BigWhiz May 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm   

    It sure is nice to talk to someone my family think I am a hypo, conreact

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm   

    No one understands pain, until they have endured it themselves.

  • bockey
    bockey May 19, 2011 at 8:27 am   

    my too my think im putting on

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 May 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm   

    When I was young, and I would hear older people talking about their nerves. I thought (as a child, nerves can do all that- so, not understanding, at 9 years old- people tend not to believe) this just can't be possible, but now that I have grown, I see…people are blind to things that they don't feel. I was on nerve medication at the age of 20 years old, so yes…nerves can do sooo much. Nerve endings, thoughts, and the entire 9 yards, people don't understand till they walk in someone's shoes.

  • CarolynSgr
    CarolynSgr June 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm   
    Edited June 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm by CarolynSgr

    I have been reading all of your inputs as to why…Abused as a child, I dont know, but I do remember when I was little my dad said that he wished they never got me, (I was adopted) I use to see things all the time. Dolls with jagged teeth waiting for me at the top of the stairs to my room, or a skelaton with a harpoon behind me as I went up my stairs. I ran away once and heard my dad say "if kimberly didnt go with her(my best friend) I wouldnt bother to look" I left home at 15yr. I was taught nothing. Since my new found freedom I have been raped twice(first one i got preg), been molested more times I can count, robbed many times, and beat badly for many, many years. I have never known real love, or trusted anyone, I have no friends(they will just stab you in the back) I met a man 11 years ago that has never hit me, raised his voice to me, and takes my troubled mind. I am now 51 and he just celebrated his 43rd birthday. We get along together just great. I feel blessed. Now if I could get rid of fibro, fibro fog, diabetic, fat x3, OA, Depression, the list can go on. They always said good things come to those who wait. I think someone forgot.

  • Karen Cobb
    Karen Cobb June 17, 2011 at 11:19 am   

    Try taking vitamin B with folic acid. Take one a day and you will feel a
    difference. That flu like feeling will go away. A nutritionist told me this. Why did my doctor not tell me this? They don't want to you to get well, they would lose money!

  • Karen Cobb
    Karen Cobb June 17, 2011 at 11:16 am   

    WOW Child abuse was always on my mind when I would think about how did I get Fybro. I too, was abused as a child. I was always on
    edge and nervous constantly. I bit my fingernails terribly till there were
    no more nail to bite. Funny how that nervous habit quit when I married and moved away from home. You just might have something there.

  • Karen Cobb
    Karen Cobb June 17, 2011 at 11:24 am   

    I too was in a car accident. I was in pain for several years before the accident. But after the accident exactly a year later my condition worsened. So nerves and accidents are both related to the condition.

  • jayabee52
    jayabee52 June 16, 2011 at 7:20 am   

    It saddens me to read about all that you have gone through. I myself have had it pretty good by comparison.

    Your man you have now must really LOVE you despite all your physical and emotional baggage.

    After being divorced from a 25 year marriage, where I was abused emotionally, I met a wonderful lady online and we married. She was exactly the balm my troubled spirit needed. We believed that God put us into each others' lives for a purpose. To make up for what our respective upbringing and life to that point heaped on us. Unfortunately for me, my "Jem" passed from this life July 2010.

    Sounds like your man is much the same for you, thank the Lord!

    Praying God's richest blessing be to you and yours

    James Baker