Ever since you were little you had a heightened sense of pain. When other children fell off their bikes, they would pick themselves up, put on an adhesive bandage, and get right back to popping wheelies. You, on the other hand, would be in so much pain that you’d have to go inside and rest with an ice pack and painkillers.
Unfortunately, this sensitivity to pain has only gotten worse as you’ve gotten older. It’s to the point where performing daily activities is enough to wear you out and leave you in tears. In the past five years, you’ve actually lost three jobs as a result of being unable to perform simple physical tasks without having to call in sick the next day.
You’ve finally decided to make a doctor’s appointment, and you’ve vowed not to leave until you have a diagnosis. Previous visits have come up short, and your doctors suggested that perhaps you merely had a delicate constitution and were prone to pulled muscles. These “suggestions” are no longer going to soothe you, now that the pain has disrupted your work, financial future, and life.
So what could be a reasonable diagnosis, and will it be enough to claim disability?
Do You Have Fibromyalgia?
Although medical science has long treated fibromyalgia (FM) with unreasonable skepticism, recent studies and research have finally confirmed it to be a painful and debilitating disorder.
The Mayo Clinic says fibromyalgia is a cognitive disease that amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals. Essentially, FM changes communication signals that travel from your nerves to the pain receptors in the brain. This change makes the pain receptors fire intensely and erratically when nerves are engaged—even when the body is undertaking simple motion that should not cause pain receptors to fire at all, let alone intensely.
This oversensitivity to stimuli can cause immense and crippling physical and mental consequences. The symptomatic signs you should be aware of include:
- Widespread pain. Often described as a constant dull ache, pain can occur on both sides of your body, as well as your abdomen and head.
- Fatigue. FM often causes the feeling of being tired immediately after you awaken, even after you’ve slept for a long period. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as "fibro fog" impairs the ability to focus, pay attention, and adequately concentrate on simple mental tasks.
- Depression. Constant unrelieved pain can make anyone feel anxious, sad, and upset. However, since FM is only recently being taken seriously, the added frustration of misdiagnoses, useless care, and inability to properly live your own life can cause severe bouts of depression.
- Decreased mobility. Excessive pain can make it difficult to walk, stand, and move without agonizing discomfort
If You Can’t Work, You Deserve Disability
If you have any or all of the above indicators, seek medical attention and discuss the possibility that you may be suffering from fibromyalgia. If your doctor feels that it is a possibility, request a referral to an orthopedist or rheumatologist for a secondary opinion and diagnosis. Once you have an official diagnosis, you can proceed with filing a disability claim based on your documented inability to work.
Although fibromyalgia cases can be difficult to get approved, an experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and options. Contact us for a free consultation and review of your claim. If you can’t physically work without severe pain, you shouldn’t be forced to suffer in order to afford a living. Call now to see how we can help you with your claim.
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