Whilst the precise cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown it is frequently triggered by a stressful event such as a physical injury such as a whiplash injury or a fall but it can also develop from psychological stressors such as stress in the workplace, a bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship. It can also be triggered by a viral infection or surgery. Confusingly, in some cases the condition can develop without any obvious triggering event.
Studies suggest that women are seven times more likely to develop the condition than men and that the predominant age for developing the condition is between 30 and 50 years of age. However, there are examples of children developing fibromyalgia.