Decoding disability: fibromyalgia

In our last post, we discussed what autoimmune conditions are and how they typically present. People who suffer from lupus (perhaps the most well-known autoimmune condition) sometimes need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits because of how debilitating the disease can be.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss another disorder that shares many symptoms with lupus: fibromyalgia. In fact, some patients suffering from either one can also be diagnosed with the other. Despite the similarities to lupus, however, fibromyalgia is not widely considered to be an autoimmune disorder.

So what is fibromyalgia? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a disorder characterized by musculoskeletal pain throughout the body and fatigue. Additionally, fibromyalgia symptoms can include issues with memory, mood and sleep.

Unfortunately, it is not yet known what causes fibromyalgia. Research has suggested that it could be caused by a variety of factors and experiences, including genetics, certain infections, emotional and physical trauma and prolonged stress. Anyone can develop the disorder, but it is more likely to afflict women than men.

Because the cause has not been identified, there is also no cure for fibromyalgia. Symptoms can be alleviated with drugs and certain behaviors (exercise), but the results are not uniform for all patients.

Like lupus, fibromyalgia can be very difficult to diagnose. And because it is another invisible disease, it is often a struggle to get approval for SSDI benefits. In light of this, submitting strong medical documentation is crucial. If you suffer from this condition and can no longer work because of it, you may want to seek help from an experienced Social Security disability attorney.