For as far as medical science has come, there are still many diseases about which little is known. It is understandable, then, that those who suffer from these conditions also feel the added burden of trying to explain their disease to others – including doctors in some cases.
A good example is fibromyalgia. Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from this complex chronic pain disorder. Of these, approximately 80 percent are women. The disease is characterized by varying levels of pain that can occur throughout the whole body or move around to different parts of the body. In addition to pain, many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from fatigue and difficulty sleeping.
We write about fibromyalgia in today’s post for three reasons. First of all, May 12 has been designated as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, according to the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. Second, despite the fact that 10 million Americans are thought to have FM, most Americans don’t know much (if anything) about it.
Finally, we write about FM because of how it can complicate the application process for Social Security Disability benefits. It is not currently possible to diagnose fibromyalgia with a blood test. Most of the symptoms of the disease are self-reported. Unfortunately, this lack of “hard” evidence means that it can be more difficult to get the claim approved by the Social Security Administration or a private disability insurer.
For all that is unknown about the causes of fibromyalgia and any possible cure, we can be sure of at least one thing: Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disease. It often leaves FM patients unable to work and unable to enjoy the physical activities they used to love. If you have FM and need to apply for SSD benefits, please don’t go it alone. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can be a knowledgeable advocate to help you through a frustrating application and appeals process.
Source: FMCPaware.org, “C.A.R.E. & Make Fibromyalgia Visible,” website, Updated May 2014