Fibromyalgia or “fibromyalgia syndrome” as it is generally termed is a condition that can cause significant pain and disability. Despite the fact that it has been recognized as a legitimate health disorder by various medical groups including the American College of Rheumatology, both the medical community in general and the Adjudicators/Administrative Law Judges in the Social Security Administration often discount both the diagnosis and its symptoms.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known and it is generally thought to be a combination of multiple factors. The most commonly recognized test for “fibromyalgia” involves finding “trigger points” at various locations on the human body that are sensitive to touch, are painful or both.
It is generally felt that the cause of fibromyalgia may be a combination of both physical and mental factors. Likewise it is far more prevalent in females than males. A further complication ensues since many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to other diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of connective tissue disorders.
When we deal with clients who have a disability claim based primarily on “fibromyalgia”, we recognize at the outset that it may be viewed with hostility as the claim is evaluated by the medical and legal professionals. Because of that, we often urge our clients to have comprehensive tests to make sure that their problems do not, in fact, emanate from a much more serious condition. Over the years we have found that a large number of people that were originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia also suffered from other disorders in addition to the fibromyalgia. The disorders that show up most frequently after testing for fibromyalgia and other conditions are, not too surprisingly, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritic changes which cause similar pain complaints. In order to get a proper diagnosis our clients are urged to follow up with neurologists and rheumatologists to ensure that they get the proper clinical workup.
Since the advent of “Obama Care” otherwise known as the “Affordable Care Act”, adequate testing and evaluations are now available to the majority of the American public.
The Social Security Administration has published specific guidelines for the evaluation and diagnosis of fibromyalgia which we have transcribed and entered into a format to be used by medical professionals conforming to the Social Security Administration in a form that is acceptable under the guidelines.
You will find below some links that might assist you in some of your questions concerning fibromyalgia.