Allsup Spotlights Research during Fibromyalgia Awareness Month in May

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Studies underway to better diagnose, treat and prevent the disorder can help those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Studies underway to better diagnose, treat and prevent the disorder can help those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Visit Expert.Allsup.com for a free disability evaluation, or call (888) 841-2126

To establish fibromyalgia as a medically determinable severe impairment, there must be evidence of widespread pain present for at least three months and pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender point sites.

More than five million Americans experience chronic pain, headaches, tingling in their hands and feet, problems with thinking and memory and trouble sleeping due to fibromyalgia, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Many individuals with fibromyalgia are unable to continue working and are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, according to Allsup, a nationwide SSDI representation company.

SSDI is a federal insurance program funded by FICA payroll taxes. It is an important resource for former workers who, due to a disability, are unable to work for 12 months or more, or have a terminal condition. To see Allsup's explanation of SSDI, click here.

Advances in diagnosing, understanding and treating fibromyalgia could help individuals who file for SSDI compile the medical evidence necessary for a successful claim. According to the NIH, there is no diagnostic laboratory test for fibromyalgia, and patients typically see multiple physicians before receiving a diagnosis. Because the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, including chronic pain, fatigue and trouble sleeping are subjective, the development of objective diagnostic and treatment criteria can lend credibility to fibromyalgia diagnoses.

Examples of current fibromyalgia research include:

■Understanding how the body processes pain and what causes pain sensitivity.

■Developing treatment options for fibromyalgia.

■Identifying objective, measurable biomarkers to diagnose fibromyalgia and identify those most at risk for the disorder.

"The Social Security Administration does not have a medical listing specifically for fibromyalgia," said Ed Swierczek, an Allsup senior claimant representative. "To establish fibromyalgia as a medically determinable severe impairment, there must be evidence of widespread pain present for at least three months and pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender point sites."

Tender points are the parts of the body, as identified by the American College of Rheumatology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which hurt when pressure is applied. They occur in symmetrical pairs from the back of the head to the inner knees.

"There must also be evidence of morning stiffness or stiffness after sitting for a short period of time, as well as fatigue," said Swierczek.

Without objective, measurable diagnostic medical evidence, it is critical that fibromyalgia patients tell their doctors about other symptoms, such as deep muscle pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, problems concentrating or remembering things, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.

"This provides a clearer understanding of an individual's ability to work, and gives doctors important information they need to provide appropriate treatment," said Swierczek.

For more information on SSDI eligibility, call the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (888) 841-2126 or visit Expert.Allsup.com.

For information on the latest fibromyalgia research and clinical trials, click here.

Visit the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association at http://www.fmcpaware.org for more information on fibromyalgia.

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Tai Venuti
Allsup
+1 (800) 854-1418 Ext: 68573
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Rebecca Ray
Allsup
(800) 854-1418 65065
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