Research has indicated massage therapy is an effective treatment for pain relief. For a new study, researchers set out to determine the relationship between physically traumatic events and the onset of chronic widespread pain.

Chronic widespread pain was determined by questionnaire, as per the American College of Rheumatology fibromyalgia classification criteria, according to an abstract published on Data were also collected on psychological health, health behavior and sleep problems.

“Participants without chronic widespread pain were then followed up four years, and (new-onset) chronic widespread pain was determined in the same manner,” the abstract noted. “At follow-up, participants were also asked to report whether they had experienced any of a series of physically traumatic events between baseline and follow-up.”

A total of 2,069 individuals (46.6 percent) participated at follow-up, and 241 of these individuals (11.6 percent) reported chronic widespread pain, the abstract noted: “More than one-third of the study population reported at least one physically traumatic event; there was some evidence to suggest that involvement in a road traffic accident, specifically, may confer an increase in the risk of chronic widespread pain onset.”

This study provides support for the “at risk” phenotype hypothesis, where individuals characterized by poorer health and psychological variables may be predisposed to develop chronic widespread pain following a traumatic trigger, according to the abstract.

“However, although this has been seen with road traffic accidents, it is not the case with other events,” the researchers noted. “Future research should examine what is peculiar about an accident, or about one’s reaction to it, that confers this increase in the risk of chronic widespread pain onset.”

“Role of road traffic accidents and other traumatic events in the onset of chronic widespread pain: Results from a population-based prospective study” is published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, a publication of the American College of Rheumatology (2011 May;63(5):696-701.)

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