A study led by Gareth Jones from the University of Aberdeen School in Scotland showed that people who experienced a physically traumatic trigger were more likely to suffer from an onset of chronic, widespread pain, especially after a car accident. It also showed that people with poor health or psychological issues were more likely to develop such pain throughout their bodies.
The researchers defined chronic pain as occurring above the waist, or on both sides of the body for a period of three months or more. They followed 2,069 participants to examine the relationships between traumatic events and chronic pain over a period of four years. The six physically traumatic events the team chose to examine were childbirth, surgery, hospitalization, fracture, workplace injury, or a traffic accident.
Of the study participants, 12% (241 people) reported an onset of chronic pain at some point, and more than 33% of the participants reported that they went through at least one of the six traumatic events outlined by the team. After controls were done for gender, age and a few other variables, it was found that people in traffic accidents had an 84% higher risk of developing widespread pain than those who were not involved in a traffic accident. The research team didn't find any correlation of onset of pain with childbirth or hospitalization.