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Does your doctor think you suffer from Fibromyalgia?

Every day, you struggle with pain in your bones and muscles. You experience tenderness in areas of your body. You become overwhelmed with fatigue, and day-to-day activities seem insurmountable. You find yourself unable to work and frustrated with the lack of relief from the pain. Your doctor might finally provide you with a name for your condition, but knowing you suffer from Fibromyalgia does not make dealing with the pain any easier.

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis from a doctor remains difficult since no definitive tests for this condition exist. You might undergo numerous medical tests to eliminate other conditions, and you might receive a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia only after approximately three months of consistent complaints. You might regularly experience the following symptoms in addition to chronic pain:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Lower abdominal pain or aching
  • Never feeling rested
  • Inability to concentrate or focus

Doctors used to rely on "trigger points" to diagnose Fibromyalgia such as pain and tenderness in the following areas:

  • Outer elbows
  • Back of the head
  • Tops of shoulders
  • Knees
  • Upper chest
  • Hips

Now, however, doctors rely on the three-month rule and the fact that no identifiable condition causes your pain.

Why do I suffer from Fibromyalgia?

Research identifies certain commonalities among sufferers of this condition:

  • Trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Certain diseases

Identifying these links to the condition has not necessarily provided researchers with the reason some people develop Fibromyalgia when others do not, but they provide a starting point to understanding the condition. Some theorize that pain receptors become hypersensitive and overreact to stimuli, yet this does not sufficiently explain the cause.

Are there ways to treat Fibromyalgia?

The following treatments might provide you some relief:

  • Medications (anti-depressants, pain medications and anti-seizure medications)
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Adequate sleep
  • Dietary changes
  • Meditation
  • Physical therapy
  • Regular exercise

Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist might also help lower stress (including PTSD), which researchers believe might lead to Fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but a combination of these treatments might control your symptoms. However, you may be concerned about paying for your treatment.

I am unable to work. Do I qualify for disability benefits?

You might qualify for Social Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits. During the application process, you must provide the following information and evidence:

  • A diagnosis
  • The inability to live a normal life
  • The inability to perform daily tasks
  • At least one year of symptoms
  • Severe and debilitating pain
  • The inability to work

In addition to medical evidence, you will more than likely need to provide a work history. The process of applying for SSI or SSD benefits often causes frustration and stress, which might exacerbate your condition. Many people initially receive a denial of benefits, which makes matters worse.

To increase your chances of successfully navigating the application process, you may wish to discuss your situation with an attorney who routinely practices in this area of law. He or she understands the process and what the Social Security Administration requires to approve an application. In addition, letting someone advocate on your behalf might reduce your stress and frustration while allowing you to focus on managing your symptoms and living your life.

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