Disability Attorney Tips: Winning a Fibromyalgia Disability Case

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fibromyalgia symptoms

While there is a history of controversy and doubt in some circles regarding this diagnosis, the Social Security Administration has recognized Fibromyalgia Syndrome as a legitimate medical impairment. Also, if a person has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome, they usually have other serious medical impairments as well that contribute to their functional limitations. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome, do not hesitate to call an RGG Law disability attorney.

Tips to Follow Before Speaking to a Disability Attorney:

  1. Rule Out Other Diagnoses:  The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can also be caused by a long list of other disorders or combinations of other disorders.  In many ways, Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion.  So, make sure your doctor runs tests to rule out other possible diagnoses, including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Thyroid Disorders, Lupus, Lymes Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Anemia, or any sort of immune system disorder before speaking to a disability attorney.
  2. See A Rheumatologist:  The correct specialist for Fibromyalgia is a rheumatologist.  This type of doctor treats pain disorders like arthritis which are not necessarily the result of orthopedic or neurological damage to the body.  If you cannot see such a specialist on a regular basis, you should at least be evaluated by one to verify your diagnosis.
  3. See Mental Health Professionals:  Most people who suffer from Fibromyalgia also suffer from Depression and Anxiety.  Many report difficulty with concentration (e.g., brain fog) and memory.  The ability to deal with other people, to cope with stress, to mentally focus, to make decisions, and to remember instructions are all important work-related functions.  You definitely want to document this aspect of your case and your problems will be taken much more seriously if you are seeing the correct specialist for them.  Documentation of these visits will help your disability attorney build a strong case.
  4. Have One Or More Trigger Point Exams:  There is a an exam, which can be done by a qualified medical professional, to verify the presence of “trigger points,” “control points,” and/or “tender points” at different places on the body.  There are 18 such points and, according to some medical authorities, a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is usually supported only when 10 or more of these 18 points are verified on exam and this is confirmed by subsequent exams.
  5. Report All Your Symptoms Frequently:  Even if the doctors are unable to make a big difference from visit to visit, it is important to see doctors regularly, even if this is a combination of your primary care provider, rheumatologist, and mental health providers.  It is also important to complain at each and every visit about each and every symptom, so your disability attorney can use a record that clearly states the serious and ongoing nature of your symptoms. Be sure to mention symptoms, like muscle pain (including where and when), chronic fatigue (including whether you must lay down during day), sleep disturbance at night, swelling of hands and feet, irritable bowels (including problems with frequency and urgency), recurring headaches (including frequency and intensity), temperature sensitivity, depression, anxiety, and mental confusion or memory loss.  If your symptoms flare or come and go, try to monitor and report the pattern to your providers (e.g., two times per month for three days each, or whenever placed in stress situations, or during certain weather patterns).
  6. Cooperate With Treatment:  If a doctor recommend mild exercise, make a genuine effort and report back to your doctor on any challenges.  Try the various medications now approved for Fibromyalgia.  If they offer some relief, report this and any residual symptoms you may still suffer.  If you don’t make at least an effort to improve your symptoms, however, a disability attorney may have difficulty justifying your claim.

While there is no magical formula to winning a disability case, the tips noted above will definitely go a long way to increasing the chances of someone with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis.