Fibromyalgia, What is it? What causes it? Why would a lawyer talk about Fibromyalgia?
A patient was involved in a relatively minor car crash which was the starting point for her ultimate diagnosis of fibromyalgia. As a result of her injuries and diagnosis of fibromyalgia, lawyers have learned a great deal about this condition.
Is fibromyalgia a disability?
Here are the few basic facts about fibromyalgia:
- It is the most common chronic causes of pain, affecting over 6 million Americans.
- It is caused by trauma,
- and affects the nervous system,
- and causes nerve and brain cells to become extra sensitive to pain.
- This may lead to extra pain signals being generated by the nerves and sent to the brain.
Fibromyalgia affects sleep, sleep disruption may make the condition even worse. There is no blood test, X-ray or MRI to tell us if someone has fibromyalgia. The diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is made by the treating doctor, and they typically do a “tender Point” exam. You can file for disability for fibromyalgia is you are suffering these diagnoses.
The American College of Rheumatology says the criteria for fibromyalgia is:
- History of chronic widespread pain for at least three months.
- Patients must exhibit pain in at least 11 of 18 tender points.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
- Sleep disturbances
- And abnormalities of the nervous system
The patient developed fibromyalgia after being injured in a car crash. Many Fibromyalgia clients who suffer from this condition were perfectly healthy before being involved in a traumatic event. This trauma is enough to start fibromyalgia in some people.
The patient had a prior car accident, and recovered quite well from that. But many years later, when she was involved in a second crash, the doctors felt that she would be okay, and with normal treatment and care, she would recover. She had MRIs, X-Rays and blood testing but unfortunately, as time went by, she seemed to develop more and more pain. Now she cannot sleep like before. Small things started to bother her more. She was experiencing stress in many different ways that she could have easily handled before.
Depression set in, suicidal thoughts became common. Her medical bills are rising, close to 1 million dollars. She could not keep a job. Doing the simplest things would become very difficult. She would have some very good days. Days where she was very active and able to move around, lift, bend, carry things. Then there were other days when she was in constant pain and agony. She cannot function without the help of others. Finally, the doctors realized that she was suffering from fibromyalgia.
Then started her on a regimen of pain medication. Unfortunately, this has led to drug dependence, and constant taking of morphine type medications such as Oxycodone. She has been treated with methadone. They proscribe Prozac, Xanex and Cymbalta to help her. Sadly, the doctors don’t know what to do, or how to help her other than to make her as comfortable as possible.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most devastating disease processes caused by trauma.
The bottom line is this, Fibromyalgia is one of the most devastating disease processes caused by trauma. The chronic pain, and the resulting treatment causes most all patients to be totally disabled, and it robs them of the simplest pleasures in life.
Why would a lawyer be so interested in fibromyalgia?
- First, interest is very personal, having a relative suffer from this horrible life altering condition has forever changed some thoughts about fibromyalgia.
- Secondly, the US Supreme Court addressed the scientific validity of Fibromyalgia.
The highest court in some states has said that Fibromyalgia is a real condition and that the treating doctors are fully able to explain the condition to a jury. The supreme court went on to cite a stack of medical literature and journal articles discussing fibromyalgia. There are tons of articles and scientific journals by the top experts in the medical field who agree that fibromyalgia is caused by trauma. But then here is the problem. In some states, evidence of scientific journals, and medical articles, and books and medical literature is not admissible in court. Why? Well, the evidence code, and the court system in some states decided several years ago that this type of evidence should stay out of the court rooms because the articles are “hearsay” in other words, unless you bring the author in to testify, you can’t just show the articles to the jury. So places like Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and Journals such as Spine, Rheumatology and literally hundreds of other prestigious medical schools and journals, have all published their findings about traumatically caused fibromyalgia.
But at this date, those articles won’t be coming into evidence in any trials. This makes it especially difficult to prove these cases since the research on fibromyalgia is still in the early stages compared to other disease and injury conditions.
If you are looking fibromyalgia help, then contact a Social Security disability attorney near you.