Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition distinguished by widespread musculoskeletal pain. Medical researchers now believe that fibromyalgia impacts the way our brain processes pain signals and amplifies the sensation of pain for persons suffering from this condition.
Although the primary symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread muscle and joint pain, the following symptoms also typically accompany this condition.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Chronic fatigue and waking up feeling exhausted, even after you think you had a ‘good sleep’ not interrupted by pain
- Cognitive difficulties: such as difficulty concentrating and thinking (‘fibro fog’) and memory problems
- Mood problems and psychological conditions, including depression and anxiety
- Migraine and tension headaches
Many people experience additional symptoms, such as:
- sleep disorders (including sleep apnea)
- irritable bowl syndrome (IBS)
- temporomandibular joint disorders.
A person may develop fibromyalgia after being injured in an accident, after a stressful event, or following surgery or an infection. But sometimes, fibromyalgia symptoms begin to increase over time with no indication of a particular event that triggered the condition. Regardless of how the fibromyalgia symptoms began, it’s not difficult to imagine that symptoms such as widespread joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue and difficulty concentrating would interfere with your ability to function at work, whether your job demands multi-tasking, computer skills or is physically demanding.
Medication, exercise and relaxation techniques can help alleviate some fibromyalgia symptoms, but the condition doesn’t have a cure.
Claiming Disability Benefits for Fibromyalgia
Proving a disability due to fibromyalgia is typically more difficult than making a successful claim for a medical condition which can be more easily verified by an objective medical test. In many cases, your doctor diagnoses fibromyalgia only after excluding a whole host of other medical conditions that don’t account for your symptoms (such as rheumatoid arthritis).
The following steps are important in making a successful fibromyalgia disability claim:
- Document your symptoms, along with ‘how often’ and ‘when’ they occur.
- Maintain a diary of how your symptoms restrict or impact your day-to-day activities
- Seek medical care from a physician who has the expertise to properly diagnose and treat your condition.
- A fibromyalgia diagnosis from a medical specialist, such as a rheumatologist or physiatrist, will carry more weight than a diagnosis from your family doctor and specialists may have the ability to provide you with specialized advice and treatment recommendations, so get a referral for assessment by doctor who specializes in chronic pain conditions.
- On your application for disability benefits, ensure that your doctor includes all physical and psychological difficulties, as well as specific details on how your symptoms prevent you from performing your job.
For the majority of LTD Policies, in the first two years after you become disabled, your fibromyalgia symptoms prevent you from doing your job, and your application for long-term disability (LTD) benefits must provide medical evidence indicating how your symptoms prevent you from performing the essential tasks of your own job. However, if your disability continues for more than two years, under most Policies, the test becomes much more difficult, and in order to qualify for LTD benefits, you must provide evidence that your symptoms prevent you from performing any occupation for which you are suited, based on your experience, training and education.
If your fibromyalgia disability claim was denied or unfairly terminated, an experienced disability claims lawyer at Dietrich Law can help you build a strong case to have your claim approved or re-instated. Visit our website, or Text or Call our office today to find out how we can help.