In disability findings in general, the Social Security Administration looks to the sufficiency of medical evidence to support a conclusion that a person’s functional abilities are seriously limited. The most recent ruling describes the type of evidence the SSA needs to determine whether a person with fibromyalgia has a “medically determinable impairment (MDI).”
A physician’s opinion as to a patient’s limitations alone is not enough to establish a medically determinable impairment (MDI). There are two instances in which fibromyalgia may qualify as a MDI. First, there is no universally acceptable medical objective test that leads to the conclusion of Fibromyalgia. The closest definition that exists today is the American College of Rheumatology’s definition that fibromyalgia exists if all three of the following are present:
- A history of widespread pain—that is, pain in all quadrants of the body that lasted for at least three months
- At least 11 positive tender points on the body (there are 18 “tender point sites, shown in the image on the right, which cluster around the neck and shoulder, chest, hip, knee and elbow regions. The areas are “positive” if the patient experiences pain when the physician palpitates the area)
- Evidence that other disorders that could cause these symptoms or signs were ruled out
In the second instance, the first and third factors above remain the same, but number two may be replaced by repeated occurrences of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, including:
- Cognitive or memory problems
- Waking unrefreshed from sleep
- Anxiety disorder
- Irritable bowel syndrome
For a more in depth and detailed description of what is required for fibromyalgia to be considered as a MDI, visit SocialSecurity.Gov.
Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. People with fibromyalgia tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness. For some patients, pain improves during the day and gets worse at night. Some patients have pain all day long. To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must have had at least 3 months of widespread pain, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 areas.
This information and the information following can be found in more depth at the resources listed at the bottom of this page.
Statistics According to the CDC
- The prevalence of fibromyalgia is about 2%, affecting an estimated 5.0 million adults in 2005. Prevalence was much higher among women than men (3.4% versus 0.5%).
- Most people with fibromyalgia are women (Female: Male ratio 7:1). However, men and children also can have the disorder.
- Most people are diagnosed during middle age and prevalence increases with age.
- Working age women with fibromyalgia hospitalized for occupational musculoskeletal disorders were almost 10 times less likely to return to work and 4 times less like to retain work at 1-year post hospitalization.
- Working adults with fibromyalgia average almost 17 days of missed work per year compared to 6 days for persons without fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has been associated with lower levels of health-related quality-of-life and more work productively loss.
We understand that fibromyalgia can be serious and that it can keep you from performing and enjoying the activities of everyday life including work. If you are currently disabled because of fibromyalgia and you are no longer able to work, please contact the Social Security Disability Lawyers of Utah and let us help you the Social Security Disability system.