Disability insurance carriers often challenge a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. How Can Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer Assist You?
As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of suffering fibromyalgia. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person with fibromyalgia must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by fibromyalgia.
Not everyone suffering from fibromyalgia qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.
In the past several years the courts have accepted fibromyalgia as a disabling condition. Disability carriers often challenge fibromyalgia as a disabling condition due to the lack of objective testing available to verify the diagnosis. While there are objective criteria for a fibromyalgia diagnosis, their simply is no objective test such as blood work, x-ray, ultrasound or an MRI which confirms the diagnosis. The important thing is that a person disabled by fibromyalgia must be able to prove how their level of pain prevents them from being able to work with reasonable continuity. In order to be successful with your claim, a claimant must have a treating physician that is experienced in both treating fibromyalgia and taking detailed notes of how your medical condition causes restrictions and limitations.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, fatigue and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).
Fibromyalgia occurs in about 2-4 percent of the population in the United States. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia then men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. Doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there is no triggering event. Fibromyalgia may also be genetic, as the disease tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make a person more susceptible to developing the disorder.
Some researchers believe the pain caused by fibromyalgia centers around a theory called “central sensitization”. This theory states that people with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain’s pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals.
How the symptoms of fibromyalgia can affect you
Fibromyalgia isn’t progressive and generally doesn’t lead to other conditions or diseases. It can, however, lead to pain, depression and lack of sleep. These problems can then interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job, or maintain close family or personal relationships. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can be a complication of the condition.
The pain associated with fibromyalgia is described as a constant dull ache, typically arising from muscles. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
The American College of Rheumatology has established two criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia: widespread pain lasting at least 3 months and a person must have 11 positive tender points out of 18.
People with fibromyalgia often suffer from sleep disturbances and are rarely able to reach a deep restorative stage of sleep. Sleep disorders that have been linked to fibromyalgia include restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
Some people may also exhibit difficulty in swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling and cognitive dysfunction. The cognitive dysfunction some people experience is commonly referred to as “brain fog” or “fibrofog”. These symptoms are often characterized by impaired concentration, short and long-term memory problems, short-term memory consolidation, impaired speed or performance, an inability to multi-task, cognitive overload and a diminished attention span.
Many people who have fibromyalgia also suffer from co-existing conditions such as; chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, endometriosis, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), lupus, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many valuable sources of fibromyalgia information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:
- The National Fibromyalgia Association
- National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association – a great not for profit organization committed to educating patients and the medical community about Fibromyalgia and overlapping conditions