Additional symptoms may also be important to note, but these are less commonly occurring in Fibromyalgia sufferers. These symptoms include:
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Jaw and face pain, including the development of TMJ
- Digestive issues
Proper documentation of your symptoms, including compounding conditions, can help you build a stronger case for long-term disability.
Your doctor can help you obtain a proper diagnosis for your condition. Fibromyalgia is generally diagnosed through the individual’s history and physical examinations. X-rays and blood work can also help provide more objective proof that you are not suffering from a different condition.
Because the exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, doctors may look towards other contributing factors to help make a proper diagnosis. Risk factors can include age, stress levels (including PTSD), repetitive injuries, family history, obesity, and more. Additionally, women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Other diagnoses, such as Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis can also be risk factors for developing this condition.
Proving your Fibromyalgia Disability Claim
While diagnosis is the first step in preparing a proper disability claim, you will likely need more than just that. Insurance companies will often require more proof than just a diagnosis from a primary care physician. Consider seeing a rheumatologist, who will be better able to provide a more concrete diagnosis of our condition. This includes trigger point testing, which is a test that rheumatologists use to identify Fibromyalgia.
Further Testing for Your Condition
In addition to diagnosis, there are a number of ways that you can help prove the impact of your condition to your disability insurance company. There are a number of tests that can help you acquire more objective medical evidence of your debilitating symptoms.
Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)
An FCE is an objective physical test that tests the claimant’s ability to lift, move, carry, push, pull, sit, and stand. This test can help identify limitations due to pain and fatigue. For conditions such as Fibromyalgia, a 2-day FCE test can be vital, as it gives a better indication of fatigue from day to day. FCE’s have indicators that help prove that you were putting in your maximum effort. This helps prevent people from purposefully failing the test. These validity indicators can be important in providing objectivity to your results.
Neuropsychological evaluations are vital to objectively proving cognitive and emotional limitations in an individual. This can include memory, focus, attention span, and other conditions that can be affected by Fibromyalgia. The mental impact of Fibromyalgia can often be overlooked by insurance companies. This evaluation can help paint a better picture of the overall deficit this condition has on your quality of life. Like the FCE, this form of testing has validity indicators to help prove the objectivity of the evaluation.
Receiving Proper Treatment For Your Condition
Proper ongoing treatment for your condition is vital to continuing your long-term disability benefits. Without appropriate care, your disability insurance company may limit or end your benefits. While there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, there are ways to improve your quality of life through treatments. Medication to reduce the symptoms of your condition is a good first step in reaching proper treatment. When considering drug-related treatment options, be sure to discuss risk factors and side effects associated with these medications with your doctors.
Additionally, there are non-drug-related therapies, such as physical exercise and physical therapy. Even physical activities such as Tai Chi and Yoga have been shown to help those living with this condition. Whether or not your doctor recommends pharmaceutical treatments, increasing your physical activity can benefit you greatly.
Treatment for Cognitive Symptoms
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment method that helps identify how thoughts and behaviors are linked to physical symptoms. CBT and treatments like it can be an effective way to help you with the cognitive and emotional deficits of Fibromyalgia.