The following article is a summary of the Editorial in the June 2006 edition of the Journal of Rheumatology.

Although recognized as a real symptom complex for more than a century, the cause of fibromyalgia (FM) remains elusive. A possible link with a triggering event has been repeatedly suggested but scientific evidence is lacking

“Opinions regarding an association between trauma such as whiplash injury (WLI) and subsequent FM are emotionally charged and highly polarized. A possible causal link between trauma and FM would carry important societal costs regarding issues of attribution, blame, and compensation”.

Previous research has suggested that upto 21.6% of patients who had sustained a WLI developed FM in the year following injury.

Tishler and colleagues from Israel report the first prospective study examining the occurrence of FM in 153 subjects who sustained WLI in a motor vehicle accident .

FM developed in only one patient with WLI and none of the controls during the year following injury.

It should be noted, however, that about 60% of study patients and controls were males and that the study was conducted from a single study site. These 2 factors could have influenced the results. Most studies indicate the FM occurs mostly in femails for reasons which are not yet certain.

This study is nevertheless important in being the first to refute the association between WLI and FM.