Fibromyalgia as a Basis for Social Security Disability

Fibromyalgia is a terrible condition which causes pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, morning stiffness, headaches, painful menstrual periods, tingling or numbness of hands or feet, and difficulty thinking and remembering. Some people with this condition may also experience irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic pain, restless leg syndrome, and depression. Fibromyalgia is also a condition which frequently forms the basis of claims for Social Security Disability.

The Social Security Administration does not specifically include the condition of fibromyalgia on its list of diseases and conditions which may cause a person to be disabled. That said, many people have been award Social Security disability benefits because the condition of fibromyalgia was found to so severely affect them that they were no able to work. The first step toward a successful social security disability case is to obtain a diagnosis.

There are no recognized tests or imaging studies that can confirm or exclude the condition of fibromyalgia. Rather, fibromyalgia is a “rule out” diagnosis. That means that your physician orders tests for conditions that can be discovered by tests. Once those conditions are shown not to exist, your physician may conclude that your constellation or grouping of symptoms is fibromyalgia. In addition to the “rule out” diagnosis the American College of Rheumatology has established diagnostic criteria with a history of widespread pain for at least three months and pain in at least 11 of 18 tender point sites. The key to getting a diagnosis is not to give up. Often, fibromyalgia victims are not well understood by physicians. It is important to consult a physician who has the experience, the training and the patience to diagnosis this condition.

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