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When Fibromyalgia Changes Your World

For many people, dealing with chronic pain is a way of life and it often leads to secondary issues like depression and anxiety. Diagnoses like fibromyalgia are difficult to understand and even harder to treat.

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include extreme tiredness that affects normal activities, sleep and memory problems. Other patients have reported restless legs syndrome, bowel or bladder problems, numbness and tingling and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature.

The causes of fibromyalgia are not well understood, but it is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are to blame. Because there is no diagnostic test, other disorders must be ruled out and even the best physicians have difficulty diagnosing the condition. Unfortunately, doctors who work for disability insurers simply do not have the tools at their disposal to recognize it, much less diagnose it. Treatment is also difficult because of the number of symptoms that present with fibromyalgia. Although usually diagnosed at middle age and occurring most frequently in women, fibromyalgia can occur in men and children as well and may strike any person at any time. People with certain other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other types of arthritis, may be more likely to have a diagnosis and disability associated with fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia are often not able to work, need assistance with activities of daily living and find their quality of life diminished greatly.

Insurers often deny claims for fibromyalgia claiming that it is a self-reported disease and that there are no objective measures to confirm a diagnosis. However, there are objective markers confirming a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, including 18 tender points on the body. If you have been turned down for long-term disability benefits because of a fibromyalgia diagnosis from companies like Unum, Hartford or Cigna, contact the attorneys at Burke Harvey for help.