Fibromyalgia – Condition and Symptoms
Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder also known as fibromyositis, fibrositis, muscular rheumatism, and FM, is a disabling condition that causes extreme suffering for millions of people in the United States. Although Fibromyalgia is known to cause widespread, lasting pain all over the body, accurate diagnosis of the condition is often extremely difficult because there is no definitely attributed medical cause. Determining whether a patient suffers from FM can often be determined only through a “diagnosis of exclusion,” after other possible conditions including bone, muscle, or nerve disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, or possible infection are ruled out by extensive testing. In addition to chronic, severe muscle and joint pain, symptoms of Fibromyalgia often include balance and coordination problems, difficulty sleeping, recurring migraine headaches, irritable bowel problems, memory and thinking problems (often called “fibro fog”), chronic fatigue, and depression.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
If an individual is disabled and can no longer work because of Fibromyalgia, that person may be entitled to disability benefits under Social Security Disability. Unfortunately, there is no listing for Fibromyalgia in Social Security’s guide to disabling conditions (also known as the “Blue Book”), so proving total disability and achieving disability benefits because of an FM diagnosis can be difficult because there are no specific criteria for approval.
If possible, it is in a claimant’s best interest to apply for disability benefits on the basis of Fibromyalgia in conjunction with other disabling conditions such as Degenerative Disc Disease or Rheumatoid Arthritis, mainly due to the fact that diagnoses of FM are quite difficult to make accurately. As a result, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) that decide to accept or reject Social Security Disability applications are often skeptical of medical professionals using Fibromyalgia as a catchall diagnosis for symptoms of chronic pain. In addition, the DDS will often place much greater value on a Fibromyalgia diagnosis made by a medical specialist, such as an orthopedist or rheumatologist (doctors who focus on bone or tissue disorders), than on one made by a family doctor, general practitioner, or mental health professional.
Lastly, it is imperative that an individual applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) makes sure to communicate with his or her doctor to ensure that the Fibromyalgia diagnosis is explicitly contained in the medical records before proceeding with a disability application. In many cases, enlisting the help of medical and legal professionals to help ensure that all necessary materials are present to completely and accurately support a Fibromyalgia disability case can greatly increase a claimant’s chances for approval.
Your Fibromyalgia Disability Case
If you are disabled because of a Fibromyalgia disability that prevents you from working, you may well be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Although total disability based on a Fibromyalgia condition can be difficult to prove compared to other disabling conditions, working closely with medical professionals and a qualified disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the appropriate documentation to support your disability claim in front of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) can help to ensure that your Fibromyalgia disability case will have the highest possible chance of success.