Fibromyalgia: A painful disability

Many people in Laurel and the state of Maryland suffer from fibromyalgia. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is unknown what causes fibromyalgia but it is considered a real condition that causes people pain and suffering. People who are diagnosed with it often experience a myriad of symptoms that include tingling in the hands and feet, stiffness in the morning, muscle pain, headaches, cognitive issues and a feeling of being tired.

Science has shown some correlation of fibromyalgia to people who struggle with certain types of arthritis or lupus. It is also believed that repetitive injuries or a stressful event may also play a part. Further research has yet to be conducted and scientists are still in search of a treatment that will relieve the symptoms fully for the five million Americans who suffer from it. For now, medical professionals must rely on a combination of treatment options that echo those used for arthritis.

Social Security does recognize fibromyalgia as an illness which causes disability and it may be possible for suffers to be approved for financial assistance if the condition prevents them from working. Due to its complexity, Social Security uses two sets of criteria to determine eligibility. Under the most current set, which was established in 2010, applicants must provide evidence that their symptoms are not due to other health illnesses, that they have a history of pain throughout their body and that they experience at least six of the recognized symptoms of fibromyalgia on more than one occasion.

The earlier set, established in 1990, requires applicants to show that they have at least 11 of the 18 tender points on their body associated with the illness, that the symptoms are not due to another health issue, and that they have experienced pain in different parts of their body over an extended period of time.

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