Fibromyalgia is pain in several areas or all over body with no functional or structural disease to explain the pain.
It is much more common in women than in men. In fact women account for about 80% of fibromyalgia cases. The American
College of Rheumatology defines fibromyalgia as a history of widespread pain lasting longer than 3 months, with pain
in at least 11 of 18 tender points, and the pain can not be attributed to another illness mimicking fibromyalgia. Social
Security will accept a diagnosis of fibromyalgia if a physical and neurological exam is taken by a reumatologist. Symptoms
include but are not limited to headaches, muscle weakness, muscle stiffness, multiple trigger points (tender), fatigue, numbness,
depression, difficulty with memory or concentration, sleep disturbance, and vestibular dysfunction. The disease is usually
caused by some trauma such as sexual or physical abuse, or illness.
Social Security Ruling SSR99-2p
addresses fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. This ruling clearly shows Social Security now considers fibromyalgia
to be a medically determinable impairment. To see this ruling go to Social Security's web site by clicking on the
There is not a listing for fibromyalgia so unless your doctor with help from your lawyer can show you equal
one of the other listings you will have to use your limitations from your fibromyalgia to show you are disabled. You
should read the section on this site called "are you disabled
" to understand how Social Security will determine if you are disabled. If fibromyalgia is one of your medical
conditions there is a few things you should know. First, you should be diagnosed and seen regularly by a rheumatologist
the diagnosis should include a physical and neurological exam including trigger points. It is important that you are
being treated by a Rhemotologist because SSA gives these doctors opinion more weight when it comes to this condition.
Make sure all the rheumotologist's records are submitted and that you have a fibromyalgia RFC
completed by him or her in your file. The RFC specifically for fibromyalgia is extremely important because fibromyalgia
has many possible limitations that cover both physical and mental limitations. Your testimony in these cases can be
extremely important because so many of the symptoms are subjective. It is very important that your testimony come across
to the ALJ as credible. You may even want to have someone who sees you on a regular basis testify as to what you go
through dealing with your condition on a daily basis.
It is very common for a person to have fibromyalgia and other
medical conditions at the same time. So keep in mind that Social Security will look at all of your medical conditions
together and how they limit you.
One difficulty often seen in these cases is that many times a person suffering
from this condition will have gone through many doctors trying to find out what is wrong with them. A diagnosis
is often times not made for months or years. This can create problems with onset date and sometimes DLI issues (being
found disabled while still covered). It is a good idea to have records that show you complaining of you symptoms to
other doctors even if a diagnosis was not made yet. This way the evidence can show you actually were suffering from
the condition well before you got a diagnosis and this can possibly lead to an earlier onset date.