Philadelphia Fibromyalgia Workers Compensation Claims
Studies place sufferers from fibromyalgia, a commonly misunderstood medical condition with potentially disabling affects, at 2 to 8% of the American population. But even with so many of us suffering the effects of fibromyalgia, medical science can tell us little about its causes and potential for treatment.
In this article, our experienced Philadelphia workers compensation lawyers will discuss fibromyalgia, its symptoms, possible causes, and why fibromyalgia-related claims for workers compensation in Philadelphia can be particularly difficult.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is generally described as a “chronic pain syndrome.” Sufferers from fibromyalgia in Philadelphia and elsewhere report experiencing widespread pain affecting muscles and tendons, extreme fatigue, and particularly “tender” pain points. Research has shown that fibromyalgia sufferers’ tend to be female rather than male.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is surrounded by a vast literature of medical research, with few conclusive explanations. At one time, those suffering from fibromyalgia were written off as “hysterics,” people simply making up their symptoms or suffering from psychological conditions. While that view is no longer commonplace, few concrete answers have been found.
Numerous theories have been proposed; some suggest that fibromyalgia can be caused, or exacerbated, by physical injuries or emotional traumas, like those involved in post-traumatic stress disorder. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that a work-related accident may have led to a case of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Other researchers believe that fibromyalgia can be linked to the causes of repetitive strain injury, repeated motions necessary for the performance of many Philadelphia workers’ job duties.
How Is Fibromyalgia Linked To Workers Compensation Cases?
Most medical professionals working to explain fibromyalgia agree that its onset can be “triggered” by other medical conditions and traumatic events. While fibromyalgia probably isn’t caused by these triggers, they seem to cause preexisting physical problems, like fibromyalgia, to surface.
Understandably, many medical professionals find an explanation for the onset of fibromyalgia in a traumatic accident, like a workplace injury. Scientific American reports that “any number of environmental influences can trigger fibromyalgia including infection, physical pain and psychological trauma.”
Those suffering from work-related fibromyalgia are urged to contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer in Philadelphia for help filing their claim.
Recent Developments In Fibromyalgia Research
Recent studies, spearheaded by chronic pain researcher Dr. Daniel Clauw, whose most recent article on the subject appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, define fibromyalgia as a “centralized pain state.” In an article published on May 27, 2014, Scientific American summarized Dr. Clauw’s findings:
” ‘Centralized’ refers to the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – either originating or amplifying pain. As Clauw points out, the CNS of patients with fibromyalgia appears to both heighten the response to painful stimuli and perceive normally non-painful stimuli as painful.”
In line with these findings, several medications that affect neurotransmitters, the central nervous system’s “information transmission system,” seem to be effective in treating fibromyalgia.
Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is mainly associated with widespread musculoskeletal pain, which may feel like an aching, burning, shooting or stabbing pain. The pain caused by fibromyalgia occurs long after painful stimuli, like a work-related injury, has become absent. Related symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue, that is not alleviated by sleep
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Severe jaw pain
- Memory loss and cognitive impairment
- Chemical sensitivities
Sufferers of fibromyalgia often report having particularly tender points, where pain is unreasonably severe. These points often exist at the back of one’s head, between shoulder blades, or on one’s upper chest.
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Currently, there is no reliable medical procedure for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Without a test for fibromyalgia, doctors must rely primarily on a patient’s personal testimony to diagnose the condition. Perhaps due to this fact, and long-standing social stigmas against fibromyalgia sufferers, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers Compensation gives little credence to diagnoses of fibromyalgia used to justify claims for workers comp.
Fortunately for Philadelphia workers, the American Medical Association has officially defined fibromyalgia as a real physical illness and potential source of disability. In the event that a physician can find a link between a workplace trauma and fibromyalgia, Philadelphia workers may be able to secure compensation through Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation system.
Proving Chronic Pain For Workers Compensation Claims
Because no definitive medical test exists to diagnose fibromyalgia, and doctors must rely on a patients’ own testimony to recognize the condition, many claims for workers compensation that involve fibromyalgia are denied in Philadelphia. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, and believe that a work-related accident may have led to your condition, the distinguished workers compensation attorneys at Disability Law Advocates Group, P.C. can help you file your initial workers compensation claim or appeal a claim denial.
Philadelphia Fibromyalgia Workers Compensation Lawyers
Fibromyalgia claims are particularly difficult. In addition to working closely with your medical professionals, our attorneys can facilitate several supplementary diagnosis measures that may strengthen your case for workers comp.
Psychological evaluations and exacting blood tests can be performed to eliminate the possibility of other conditions that share symptoms with fibromyalgia. A “tender points test,” in which patients show increased sensitivity in at least 11 of the 18 clinically recognized fibromyalgia tender points, can also buttress a Philadelphia worker’s fibromyalgia claim. Our workers compensation attorneys can also refer you to a Philadelphia medical professional with a thorough understanding of fibromyalgia if you’re current doctor is not adequately informed.
For more information, call Disability Law Advocates Group, P.C. at (215) 563-0600 or complete our contact form.