Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyositis or fibrositis, is chronic pain disorder that affects millions of patients nationwide. Although the condition often causes chronic pain throughout a person’s body, it's also difficult to diagnose, making collecting disability benefits for fibromyalgia a challenging process.
Common Symptoms That Lead to a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Doctors aren't sure of the exact cause of fibromyalgia, and there's no one test that can definitively diagnose the condition. The telltale symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain that usually occurs along “tender points”—specific spots on the body that hurt with slight pressure.
Additional symptoms of fibromyalgia often include:
- Sleeping difficulties. The majority of people with fibromyalgia experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, sleeping lightly or for short periods, and interrupted sleep cycles. This commonly leads to chronic fatigue.
- Migraines. Many fibromyalgia sufferers experience frequent migraine or tension headaches. These are due to pain in the tender points along the head, neck, and upper back.
- Cognitive problems. Patients often experience short-term memory problems or difficulty concentrating, commonly known as “fibro fog.”
- Anxiety or depression. About half of all patients also experience symptoms of depression or an anxiety disorder after a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
- Morning stiffness. Similar to arthritis sufferers, most people with fibromyalgia experience a stiffness or creakiness in their backs, arms, and legs when they wake up in the morning.
- Painful bodily functions. The majority of people with fibromyalgia experience problems urinating and defecating. This may include irritable bowel syndrome, belly pain, gas, bloating, constipation, nausea, painful or frequent urination, and diarrhea.
- Loss of sensation in the extremities. Patients may suffer numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in their hands and feet known as paresthesia. This can last for a few minutes or indefinitely, leading to loss of balance or coordination.
- Painful menstrual cramps. Women with fibromyalgia may experience menstrual cramps that are unusually painful or last longer than a week.
Treatment for fibromyalgia is aimed at easing the symptoms, such as prescribing pain and sleep medications, and advising patients on lifestyle changes that can make symptoms less severe. Support groups and therapy sessions can also greatly help with the physical and emotional stress of the condition.
If you're unable to work due to your fibromyalgia symptoms, fill out the form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.