Fibromyalgia is a severe chronic pain condition that affects every aspect of life. Causes of the condition remain unclear, and quantitative research cannot account for patients’ personal illness narratives and perceptions. This online survey gathered qualitative accounts of the perceived causes of their condition from 596 people with fibromyalgia, which were analyzed thematically. Themes were “Bodily assault, ill-health, and change”; “Emotional trauma and distress”; “Stress and vulnerability”; and “Explaining and authenticating fibromyalgia.” Discussion focuses on the complexity of causation, the importance of understanding and having symptoms validated, and the potential for benefiting from patient expertise in building better practitioner–client relationships.
Furness, P., Vogt, K., Ashe, S., Taylor, S., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2018). What causes fibromyalgia? An online survey of patient perspectives. Health Psychology Open, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/2055102918802683