Fibromyalgia swelling makes life difficult for a lot of sufferers. The pain and discomfort make daily tasks a challenge. Putting on shoes, or picking out an outfit, or even just getting around is harder with painful swelling in your hands or feet. But what causes the swelling? And how can you treat it?
What is fibromyalgia swelling?
Fibromyalgia often causes swelling in sufferers. Swelling, or edema, is a medical condition where fluid builds up underneath the skin. Edema is usually the result of injury, but with fibromyalgia, there is usually no obvious cause behind the swelling.
Now, this swelling usually happens in the hands and feet. But this fact often causes people to confuse fibromyalgia with arthritis, which also affects the hands and feet. And that sometimes makes treatment difficult. That’s because doctors may confuse your fibromyalgia pain with another condition. So, make sure that your doctor knows you have fibromyalgia.
In addition, fibromyalgia sufferers sometimes feel like their joints are swelling when they are not. It is part of the generalized, uncomfortable symptoms that fibromyalgia causes. And it makes treatment even more difficult since there are no physical symptoms.
What causes fibromyalgia swelling?
Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition, which means it affects joints and other nerve endings. No one knows how or why fibromyalgia targets nerve endings. But the overactivity in the nervous system causes joints to become inflamed.
Fibromyalgia is believed by many doctors to be a condition that causes your body’s immune system to over react. And in the same way that an allergic reaction can cause inflammation in the joints or face, your body’s immune response may be the cause of fibromyalgia swelling. That suggests that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder, but again, there is no scientific agreement on that issue.
What can I do to treat fibromyalgia swelling?
There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia. That means that treatments for fibromyalgia swelling involve easing the discomfort instead of treating the underlying cause. Until a cure is developed, most treatments will simply involve reducing the swelling and managing the pain so you can continue to live an active life.
There are a few things you can do to limit the swelling caused by fibromyalgia. First, try to move the fluid away from the affected areas. Raise your hands over your head or put your feet up against a wall. Raising the affected limbs over your head will cause the fluid to dr
A series of comics designed to inform the public about common but poorly understood conditions launches this week with the first edition focusing on fibromyalgia.
Writers, comic artists and health professionals from the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside will celebrate the publication of ‘Fibromyalgia and Us’ this Friday.
The new comic explores the long-term condition which can often cause intense pain and/or fatigue all over the body and the impact it can have on individual patients and their families.
Written by those living with this condition, in collaboration with a doctor and physiotherapist from NHS Tayside, the new comic will be launched at the Dundee Comic Creative Space on Friday 1 December.
Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, Professor of Education at the University, said, “This comic has been designed with the purpose of raising awareness of fibromyalgia amongst professionals, families, and communities.
“It illustrates the ongoing life transitions of those who have fibromyalgia as well as its impact on significant others. A strong support network is so crucial to enable people to adapt to the multiple transitions triggered by fibromyalgia and flourish despite its substantial challenging consequences.”
To coincide with the launch, there will be interactive comic workshops suitable for all ages as well as a free talk by Dr Ian Horton from the University of the Arts, London on ‘Impact, public engagement, and comic books.’
Dr Golnar Nabizadeh, Lecturer in Comic Studies, said, “We are thrilled to launch our new comic this week. Friday will be a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come learn about the condition and meet the amazing contributors, writers, health professionals and artists involved in the project.”
Those interested are invited to hear more about the project and get creating comics themselves at the Dundee Comics Creative Space, Unit 7 in the Vision Building on Friday 1 December from 6 – 8pm.For media enquiries contact:
Media Relations Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 385131
It is the sort of thing that you should consider discussing with your GP and with a pain specialist or rheumatologist.
Do you know of any relationship between gabapentin and fibromyalgia?
I have recently been told that the drug had been given to patients with fibromyalgia with good results.
Is there any truth in this?
Gabapentin is a medication initially designed for treating epilepsy.
It works directly on the brain to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
However, like a few other medications that act directly on brain tissue (centrally acting) it has been found by some specialists to help reduce and control certain types of pain.
There have been anecdotal reports of its effectiveness in reducing neuralgia or neuralgic pain – the sharp, aching or burning pain triggered by damaged nerves – the biological wires that travel from the spine into the body and limbs.
This is the sort of pain that might occur after an attack of shingles in a particular nerve (post-herpetic neuralgia), or with degeneration of nerve endings in the limbs (neuropathy) as sometimes happens in people suffering the complications of advanced diabetes.
There is no specific reference to its use in chronic rheumatic pain, such as fibromyalgia syndrome.
However, other centrally-acting medications used for neuralgic pain, such as carbamazepine and Amitriptyline, are sometimes used for symptoms related to rheumatism.
So it wouldn’t be a surprise if gabapentin has been tried in that context too.
Decisions about the treatment of fibromyalgia need to be tailored to the individual sufferer.
It is the sort of thing that you should consider discussing with your GP and with a pain specialist or rheumatologist.
They would have some experience of its use and more information.
The NetDoctor Medical Team
Are fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica the same thing?
Similar to fibromyalgia, it causes pain and stiffness in the muscles of the hips, thighs, shoulders and neck, but unlike fibromyalgia it is also ofte.
My mother has recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
When the osteopath discussed her symptoms he mentioned polymyalgia rheumatica.
Are they the same thing and what treatment might be available?
These conditions are quite separate from one another and require different treatment.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is highly unlikely in your case, since it is rare anyway and unusual before the age of 50.
Similar to fibromyalgia, it causes pain and stiffness in the muscles of the hips, thighs, shoulders and neck, but unlike fibromyalgia it is also often associated with more serious conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and something called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Morning stiffness is very noticeable making getting out of bed a problem. Weight loss and depression can also occur.
Polymyalgia is treated with steroid medication, which usually brings about an improvement within a few days, and may need to be continued for up to two years.
In fibromyalgia, there is also chronic pain in the muscles and bones throughout the body and lots of tender areas to the touch.
It is much more common with an overall prevalence in the population of about 1 per cent.
Unfortunately, conventional treatment of this condition with pain relievers – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and antidepressants -is relatively ineffective.
A better way forward is an individualised programme of cardiovascular fitness exercise, which has been shown in recent trials to be much more beneficial.
Contact the Fibromyalgia Association for more details.
For many sufferers of chronic pain, it’s possible that some basic lifestyle changes can have a noticeable impact on their daily lives. Some with chronic pain must seek out medical treatment, as medicine and therapy are vital to helping people cope with their symptoms, but medicine can’t do it alone. If you want to truly minimize your chronic pain, you must make some simple (but fundamental) lifestyle changes that promote overall wellness.
Focus on your sleep
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality will, without a doubt, exacerbate your chronic pain symptoms. When you have sleep issues, both your mind and body are unable to recover from fatigue. This leads to more frequent, more intense flare-ups of your pain symptoms.
The problem with sleep is that lack of sleep is not just a cause of chronic pain, but it’s also a symptom. This effectively means that you can’t sleep because you’re in pain and you’re in pain because you can’t sleep.It’s a vicious cycle. Truly focusing on getting good sleep can make a difference. In fact, just being motivated to work on better sleep can help.
“Americans who said they were very or extremely motivated to get enough sleep reported sleeping 36 more minutes per night across the week compared with others (7.3 vs. 6.7 hours). Even among those with pain, a higher motivation to get sleep was associated with longer sleep durations and better sleep quality. That’s a striking metric, indicating as many as 4.2 hours more sleep per week in motivated individuals,” reports the Sleep Foundation.
One way to promote better sleep is to set and keep a strict sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at different times every day is unhealthy and can prevent restful sleep. Also, you should designate your bedroom as a sleeping place only. Don’t watch TV in there, don’t do laundry, and don’t check your emails.Train your brain to know that when you lie down in bed,it’s time to sleep and sleep only.
By Wyatt Myers | Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD
Anyone with fibromyalgia is familiar with the chronic pain and fatigue that often accompany this disorder-which affects about 5 million Americans, primarily women.But feelings of pain and exhaustion aren’t the only symptoms of fibromyalgia. Other signs that aren’t necessarily visible to others can affect the sufferer and make the condition even harder for those around them to understand.
Here are some of the lesser-known signs of fibromyalgia that may be experienced:
# 1 Allodynia
You might not give a second thought to rubbing a loved one’s shoulders or patting a friend on the back. But for someone with allodynia, being the recipient of these simple gestures can result in excruciating pain. Allodynia is a heightened sensitivity to touch, which results in pain from things that normally would not cause discomfort.
“This increased skin sensitivity and pain from touch is hypothesized to occur for a number of reasons,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Centers. “Over one-third of people with fibromyalgia develop a small fiber neuropathy caused from the chronic pain. In addition, the chronic pain causes amplification of pain signals in the brain itself, as well as changes in three key neurotransmitters related to pain.” Dr. Teitelbaum says medications known as NMDA receptor antagonists-memantine (Namenda) is one-can help.
Allodynia is also related to a lack of restorative sleep, so standard treatments for fibromyalgia — such as physical therapy, exercise, stress relief techniques, and practicing good sleep hygiene — can also help ease allodynia.
#2 Fibro Fog/Brain Fog
Also called “brain fog,” this is a very serious fibromyalgia symptom that leaves many people in distress. “Brain fog or fibro fog is a classic component of the energy crisis we call fibromyalgia,” says Teitelbaum. Some of the common signs of fibro fog include a difficulty with word finding or substitution, loss of short-term memory, and occasionally even episodic disorientation that lasts for about 30 to 60 seconds. “With this disease, calling one’s husband by another man’s name is not a Freudian slip,” Teitelbaum notes. He explains that there is no single cause for fibro fog; rather, it can be caused by a combination of many factors including low thyroid levels, poor sleep, hidden infections such as Candida, and alterations in blood flow to the temporal lobes of the brain, which regulate speech.
Stephen Soloway, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in Vineland, N.J., attributes much of the difficulties with fibro fog to sleep issues affecting people with fibromyalgia. Practicing good sleep hygiene and getting help from a sleep specialist may be useful.
Paresthesia is an unexplained feeling of tingling and numbness that people with fibromyalgia may experience. Often it’s related to anxiety or nervousness over the disorder and can be accompanied by rapid, deep breathing. This in turn can lead to acroparesthesia, a tingling in the hands and feet from lack of carbon dioxide. Considering that anxiety is a major player in parasthesia, the stress relief techniques recommended for fibromyalgia patients can help. Exercise can also play a role in treatment.
These benign fatty tumors that can appear as lumps in various parts of the body are not directly related to fibromyalgia, but they may cause you to experience more discomfort than the average person does. This may be related to where the lipomas develop — parts of the body that are susceptible to the excessive or inappropriate pain that patients experience, explains Elliot Rosenstein, MD, director of the Institute for Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J. “Alternatively, these may be fibro-fatty nodules or localized areas of muscle spasm.”
#5 Excessive Sweating
Some people with fibromyalgia perspire heavily and may even believe they have a fever. This is due to what’s called an autonomic dysfunction within the hypothalamus, the almond-sized area in the brain that controls sleep and regulates sweating, bowel movements, and other automatic body functions. “The autonomic dysfunction causes the increase in sweating,” Teitelbaum says. Some medications and lifestyle changes that can keep you cool and dry may help with this fibromyalgia symptom.
Many of these unusual fibromyalgia symptoms respond to general treatment approaches. If not, talk with your doctor about targeted recommendations that may help.
Desperate disabled gran attempted suicide after brutal DWP cuts left her fearing she would lose her home
The woman’s son has accused the company which carries out fitness-to-work assessment of lying
A disabled grandmother attempted suicide because she feared losing her home because she was ruled fit to work.
The 60-year-old’s family say she only survived because her daughter discovered her close to death.
Despite having a string of health problems, including cerebral palsy and a twisted spine, the woman was told she would lose her employment support allowance.
Now her furious son has accused Maximus – which carries out fit-to-work tests for the DWP – of driving her to it by lying, the Daily Record reports.
She took powerful pills after receiving a letter informing her of the decision.
She has been in hospital since last Wednesday.
Relatives revealed the mum of two, whom the Record has chosen not to name for privacy reasons, was born with cerebral palsy and a twisted spine.
She has arthritis in her spine, hands, legs, feet and neck as well as suffering from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body.
But the family insist she has never suffered from mental health problems.
Her son claims assessors lied about his mother’s capabilities during the meeting last month, which was witnessed by her daughter.
He said that despite her complex medical history and mobility issues, they gave her zero points in the work capability assessment, leaving her ineligible for her employment support allowance and in fear that her housing support would be removed.
The son said: “She thought she was going to lose her house and she tried to take her life. She was in the intensive care unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
“The doctors couldn’t tell me if she was going to make it at first. They don’t know if there has been any permanent damage to her kidney and her liver.”
The gran is also in receipt of disability living allowance, a benefit which the DWP maintain is handled separately from ESA and will not be affected by the latest assessment.
Her son described how his sister found their mum barely clinging to life.
He said: “She was freezing cold and wasn’t breathing properly and had to be resuscitated. She had taken strong painkillers and various different pills.”
He added the report from assessors at the Maximus centre on Cadogan Street, Glasgow, had a number of errors.
He said: “My mum is severely disabled. The report said that during the medical, she bent down and picked something off the floor and raised her hands fully above her head. They say she had full movement in her spine.
“My sister attended the medical with my mum because she’s not able to go on her own and because she wears splints to walk and needs a stick. She said none of this happened.
“They also said my mum was smartly dressed but she turned up in a pair of jogging bottoms and a T-shirt because that’s the easiest thing for my sister to get her dressed in.
“I just don’t know how they can tell these lies. This is a real disabled person. Every doctor and consultant she has seen all say she’s not fit for work.
“Real medical professionals can see that but these people in Cadogan Street are lying to get people taken off benefits who are genuinely ill.
“These medical interviews should be video-recorded to make sure they cannot tell lies.
“There is no wonder people like mum are turning to drastic measures.
“She has never even been as much as depressed before. She’s always been a wee strong woman who, despite her illnesses, has tried to push through.”
The woman’s MP, Alison Thewliss, is set to raise her case at Westminster after being contacted by the family. She said: “This is a really harrowing case which shows the serious and damaging effects work capability assessments can have on people – particularly those who are vulnerable.
“I am devastated that my constituent felt they had no option but to attempt to take their own life in the aftermath of a medical assessment.
“The letter received by my constituent was apparently strewn with inaccuracies and misinformation regarding their medical conditions.
“It is unacceptable that these inhumane assessments can be allowed to continue in their current form. There is no excuse for a system which is as cruel as it is incompetent. The lives of vulnerable people are at stake.”
SNP MP Thewliss urged anyone in a similar position to seek help from welfare rights advisers and MPs.
Nearly two-thirds of disabled Scots who appeal a UK Government decision that they are “fit to work” have their challenges upheld, figures revealed last month.
Labour renewed calls to scrap the system after the figures were revealed.
But the DWP said only a small proportion of all decisions are overturned at appeal. The vast majority of successful appeals are on the grounds of new evidence from the claimant.
In the case of the gran who attempted suicide, the decision will be the subject of a mandatory review.
But in many cases the appeal process can take up to several months to complete, with benefits being cut with immediate effect.
Commenting on this particular case, a DWP spokesman said:
“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical professional.
“These decisions carry a right to appeal and additional information can be provided to support a claim.”
The Record contacted Maximus for comment but they did not respond.
I was 12 and stood at the gate with my cousin waiting to go into school. You walked across the yard toward me and handed me a letter. I was crushed to find that it spelled out 20 things that were wrong with me.
Whilst sitting in infant’s school, you sat behind me and pushed my chair into the desk in front so hard I was unable to breathe. I was hitting my hand on the desk for over a minute before the teacher told you to stop. I struggled to see why you wanted to hurt me so much.
It is Anti-bullying Week and the other day I came across a report which revealed that 40% of children in the UK have reported being bullied. This rose to 58% of children with a physical disability, which I found extremely upsetting. The bullying hurt, but it hurt even more when you directed it towards my disability.
I was eager to learn from a young age and always answering questions in class, which many of you took a dislike to. In secondary school you grew bolder, calling me things like ‘ugly’ and picking on my appearance. After a while, I couldn’t see myself clearly anymore, only through your eyes, which were cold and cruel.
Just after my 14th birthday, I suddenly fell ill, yet the doctors struggled to find anything wrong. I was initially diagnosed with M.E/cfs,Fibro pain and within three months, I needed a wheelchair. After that, the bullying stopped, but the relief was short. It soon escalated again when Ricky Gervais made the joke in his show that people who have ME/CFS are just lazy.
Fibromyalgia is classified as a syndrome so people will have some of these symptoms. No two people will be the same (this cause people a lot of confusion).
1. Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
2. Cold hands and feet (extremities)
4. Craving carbohydrates
5. Delayed reaction to physical activity or stressful events
6. Dryness of eyes and/or mouth
7. Family member(s) with Fibromyalgia
8. Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
9. Feeling cold often
10. Feeling hot often
11. Frequent sighing
12. Heart palpitations
14. Increased thirst
15. Low blood pressure (below 110/70)
16. Low body temperature (below 97.6)
17. Low-grade fevers
18. Night sweats
19. Poor circulation in hands/feet
20. Recurrent flu-like illness
21. Shortness of breath with little or no exertion
22. Severe nasal allergies (new or worsening allergies)
23. Sore throat
25. Symptoms worsened by air travel
26. Symptoms worsened by stress
27. Symptoms worsened by temperature changes
28. Tender or swollen lymph nodes, especially in neck and underarms
29. Tremor or trembling
30. Unexplained weight gain or loss
31. Chest pain
32. Diffuse swelling
33. “Growing” pains that don’t go away once you are done growing
35. Inflamed Rib Cartilage
36. Joint pain
37. Lumpy, tender breasts
38. Morning stiffness
39. Muscle pain
40. Muscle spasms
41. Muscle twitching
42. Muscle weakness
43. Pain that ranges from moderate to severe
44. Pain that moves around the body
45. Paralysis or severe weakness of an arm or leg
46. Restless Leg Syndrome
47. Rib Pain
48. Scalp Pain (like hair being pulled out)
49. Tender points or trigger points
50. TMJ syndrome
51. “Voodoo Doll” Poking Sensation in random places
53. Brain fog
54. Feeling spaced out
55. Inability to think clearly
57. Noise intolerance
58. Numbness or tingling sensations
59. Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
61. Seizure-like episodes
62. Sensation that you might faint
63. Syncope (fainting)
64. Tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears)
65. Vertigo or dizziness
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, isn’t as official as it sounds. Frozen shoulder just refers to shoulder pain that leads to restricted range of motion. It is a catch-all diagnosis for shoulder pain and immobility for which the underlying cause is unknown.
Janet Travell, the author of Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, speaking of the medical literature on frozen shoulder, says, “When so many authors agree that the cause of a disease is enigmatic, there is good reason to expect that a major etiologic factor is being overlooked.”
This major factor, according to Travell, is trigger points in the subscapularis muscle. Acupuncture can eliminate these trigger points, wiping out frozen shoulder for good and offering people an alternative to the common-yet usually only temporarily effective-protocol of pain killers, cortisone shots, and surgery.
The signature pain-referral pattern of subscapularis trigger points
The subscapularis is one of the four muscles that comprise the rotator cuff. It attaches to the inner surface of the scapula and to the front of the humerus bone. Its primary responsibility is to hold the humerus in place during arm movements, preventing displacement. It also helps internally rotate the head of the humerus.
Trigger points are sensitive nodules in the musculature that cause referred pain. In the subscapularis muscle, they produce a signature pain-referral pattern. Pain concentrates on the back of the deltoid muscle. From there, it can extend onto the back, over the scapula, and/or down the back side of the upper arm. Pain usually skips the forearm but appears again as a band around the wrist (see picture at right).
Early-stage subscapularis trigger points normally don’t prevent people from reaching up. However, reaching backward—as if you were getting ready to throw a ball—tends to be painful. This is why frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis are sometimes referred to as pitcher’s arm.
Another tell-tale sign of early-stage subscapularis trigger points is wrist pain that concentrates on the back of the wrist, sometimes making it uncomfortable to wear a watch.
Common causes of shoulder pain from trigger points in the subscapularis
Is it sounding like your shoulder pain might be coming from trigger points in the subscapularis muscle? Here are some common ways in which these trigger points get activated:
Overdoing it at activities that require medial rotation of the arm. Examples include freestyle swimming and throwing a baseball. Forceful overhead lifting while adducting the arm (bringing it closer to your body). An example is the kettleball swing exercise, where you use outstretched arms to raise the kettleball from between the legs. Sudden stress placed on the shoulder muscles due to a humerus fracture or shoulder-joint tear, or breaking a fall.
Once a trigger point is activated—in the subscapularis or any muscle—it’s commonly perpetuated or exaggerated by everyday movements. Sleeping on one’s side or having slumped-forward posture can make subscapularis trigger points worse.
Cures for subscap-related shoulder pain
Once you’ve identified subscapularis trigger points as the source of your shoulder pain and immobility, there are several steps you can take to reduce them.
Trigger points in the subscapularis can be released by inserting acupuncture needles directly into the muscle. While extremely effective at eliminating shoulder pain, having these trigger points needled can be uncomfortable due to the location of the subscapularis. To access the muscle, the acupuncturist needs to palpate somewhat forcefully inside the underarm (see picture at right).
Another acupuncture technique for addressing pain from trigger points includes needling away from the actual pain site, choosing points along the acupuncture meridians that transverse the painful part of the body.
For example, the Small Intestine meridian runs directly along the signature pain-referral pattern for subscapularis trigger points. An acupuncturist might choose to needle an acupuncture point on the Small Intestine meridian that’s farther down the body.
Small Intestine 3, for example, is an acupuncture point on the side of the hand (see picture at left) that’s frequently used to alleviate shoulder and upper back pain around the scapula. You can massage this point yourself to help reduce pain in that area.
Something else you can do yourself to reduce subscapularis-related shoulder pain is adjust your posture—while awake and sleeping.
During waking hours, try and avoid the slumped-forward posture that so many of us have unfortunately developed as a result of sustained computer use. This position forces the arms into a medially rotated position, which perpetuates trigger points in the subscapularis.
When standing, try hooking your thumbs into your belt or pants to prevent your arms from touching your sides. You can also try the amazingly simple palms-up trick for improving posture. When you’re at your desk, remember to frequently move your arms—a simple movement of reaching the arm up and behind the head will do it—to help keep the subscapularis muscle stretched.
Sleep with a pillow
At bedtime, grab an extra pillow. If you’re sleeping on the painful side, place the pillow between your elbow and side of the body. Again, this abducts the arm away from the body, which stretches the subscapularis muscle. If you sleep on the pain-free side, put the pillow in front of you so that the painful arm can rest on it (pretend you’re hugging the pillow).
A final self-care technique for reducing subscapularis trigger points is the doorway stretch. Stand in a doorway and place both hands on either side of the door, at about shoulder height. Lean forward to give a nice passive stretch to the subscapularis.
If your shoulder pain is coming from trigger points in the subscapularis muscle, no amount of pain killers, cortisone shots nor surgeries is going to solve the problem. Those treatments have their place, but why not try the less invasive path first?
Generally, to establish fibromyalgia as a medically determinable severe impairment, you must show:
Widespread pain for at least three months.
Pain on palpation in at least 11 of the 18 tender point sites (as identified by the American College of Rheumatology).
Morning stiffness or stiffness after sitting for a short period of time.
At step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process, the SSA determines if your condition meets a listing. There is currently no listing for fibromyalgia, but it is possible that your related symptoms/conditions meet a listing.
If your related symptoms do not equal a listing, the Social Security Administration will next assess your residual functional capacity (RFC) (the work you can still do, despite your fibro), to determine whether you qualify for benefits at steps 4 and 5 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. The lower your RFC, the less the Social Security Administration believes you can do. In determining your RFC, the Social Security Administration adjudicator should consider all of your symptoms in deciding how they may affect your ability to function.
TIPS FOR SSDI APPLICATION FOR FIBROMYALGIA
Make sure a fibromyalgia diagnosis is in your medical records. We’ve mentioned this before for long-term disability, but it is also true for SSDI, “know your medical records.”
Make sure your medical records document ALL of your symptoms and limitations. Your medical records should not just document your pain. Let your doctor how often you feel the symptoms, how severe each symptom is and how long each episode lasts. Make sure that all your medical problems are adequately documented by your doctor, and that you are receiving the appropriate medical attention for all of your disabling symptoms.
See a specialist. A fibromyalgia diagnosis from an orthopedist, rheumatologist, or a chronic pain or fatigue specialist will carry more weight than the same diagnosis from a family physician or internist professional.
See a mental health professional. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, see a mental health professional to diagnose, treat, and document these conditions. Fibro is often accompanied by or is the cause of mental health conditions. However, it is important that the actual fibromyalgia diagnosis comes from specialist and not your counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. (see above)
See your doctor regularly and keep your appointments.
If you can, provide evidence of a long work history.
Provide examples of unsuccessful attempts to return to work and/or unsuccessful attempts to work in a decreased capacity.
Include information from nonmedical sources to support your medical claims. Gather Information from neighbors, friends, relatives, clergy, and/or past employers about your impairments and how they affect your function. Have them document changes that they have seen in your ability over time. These are not given nearly as much weight as testimony from a medical professional, but they don’t hurt.
Keep a journal. Make regular notes about your impairment, level of function, and treatments.
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