Fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread pain, is difficult for the victim and for the victim’s doctor. There is no specific test for diagnosing fibromyalgia, and treatment mainly focuses on easing rather than eradicating the victim’s pain.
The nature of fibromyalgia also makes it a difficult workers’ compensation claim. Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, and a diagnosis is primarily based on the patient’s claim of pain and associated symptoms, such as loss of sleep, irritability and difficulty in concentrating.
But if your fibromyalgia was caused by conditions at your workplace in South Carolina, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. At Joye Law Firm, we believe you deserve a fair and objective review of your claim for workers’ comp benefits if you suffer from work-related fibromyalgia.
Call Joye Law Firm or use our online contact form to schedule a free discussion about pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for fibromyalgia.
Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
The American Medical Association identified fibromyalgia as a physical illness and source of disability in 1987. The 2003 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said approximately 4.9 million people in the United States have fibromyalgia syndrome.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, which may be described as aching, burning, throbbing, shooting or stabbing pain. It is often worse in the morning.
Related symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia include:
- Fatigue that is not relieved by rest
- Irritable bowel (diarrhea, constipation, etc.)
- Sleep disorder or sleep that is unrefreshing
- Jaw pain, including TMJ dysfunction
- Cognitive or memory impairment
- Post-exertional malaise and muscle pain
- Waking up stiff and achy
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Skin and chemical sensitivities
Many fibromyalgia patients also have tender points where they experience additional pain if firm pressure is applied. Tender point locations may include:
- Back of the head
- Between shoulder blades
- Top of shoulders
- Front sides of neck
- Upper chest
- Outer elbows
- Upper hips
- Sides of hips
- Inner knees
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it has been linked to physical injury or emotional trauma, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some experts believe it can be caused by a physically or emotionally traumatic event, such as a car accident. Others believe that the repetitive motions required by some jobs can cause fibromyalgia. Some argue that poorly ventilated toxic fumes at a job site can lead to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia has no known cure at this time. Treatment is an ongoing lifestyle management process, which typically involves a combination of medications that include antidepressants and pain relievers, exercise and therapy for dealing with the pain psychologically.
Fibromyalgia Workers’ Comp Claims
Fibromyalgia is recognized as a disabling problem for millions of people. Yet, because there is no definitive test for fibromyalgia and it is a syndrome of pain that cannot be detected by others, it is easy to dismiss a fibromyalgia claim. It is not at all unusual for a fibromyalgia victim’s initial application for workers’ compensation to be challenged by the employer and denied.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you appeal a valid workers’ comp claim based on fibromyalgia or to develop an initial claim for benefits. Such a claim may rely on a psychological evaluation, which we can help arrange, and on thorough blood tests, which would rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia.
A diagnosis may also rely in part on the so-called “tender points test,” in which the patient exhibits pain at least 11 of the 18 recognized fibromyalgia tender points. This test may also be inconclusive, though. Many experts agree that a person does not need to have the required 11 tender points to be diagnosed and treated for fibromyalgia. Widespread pain along with many of the symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia may also result in a diagnosis.
What matters is that your doctor understands fibromyalgia. South Carolina workers’ compensation rules require you to be seen by the medical professional the employer chooses, but that does not prohibit you from seeing additional doctors. Your workers’ comp lawyer may arrange for you to see a doctor who understands the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and its potential causes if the employer-chosen doctor did not sufficiently consider your fibromyalgia claim.
Joye Law Firm offers you 40-plus years of collective experience with handling workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina. We can help you build a strong case to show that you qualify for workers’ comp because of fibromyalgia that was caused by an occupational injury or workplace conditions.
Do You Have Job-Related Fibromyalgia? Talk to Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys
If you suffer from fibromyalgia that was caused by conditions where you work or a workplace injury in South Carolina, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out this online contact form for a free consultation about your claim.