More than 10 million Americans suffer from a painful medical condition called fibromyalgia. A chronic pain syndrome, the onset of fibromyalgia is somewhat of a mystery to the medical community. However, it is often attributed to traumatic events such as accidents, surgeries or occupational illnesses. Fibromyalgia causes widespread discomfort throughout the body and can be quite limiting for those who are affected the most. But unfortunately, its existence can be somewhat of a challenge to prove in legal claims for compensation. Our Raleigh fibromyalgia lawyers are here to help.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia following an accident, call the North Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at Hardison & Cochran. Our Raleigh law firm knows the common arguments that defendants and their attorneys use to avoid paying you the money you are entitled to, and we are equipped to collect the evidence you need to prove your case.
Call us today at 800-434-8399 or complete our online form for a free case review. We serve clients throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Fayetteville, NC.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Although some physicians and medical researchers contend that fibromyalgia isn’t a “real” condition, the American Medical Association recognized it as an illness that can be disabling in 1987. Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia report discomfort in their muscles, ligaments and tendons as well as tender points over the whole body when pressure is applied.
Additional symptoms include:
- Chronic pain – Aching, radiating, shooting, gnawing, burning, exhausting and nagging pain may plague victims of fibromyalgia. The pain may not always be consistent in location or intensity. Some people who are affected by fibromyalgia may be impacted more severely during a certain time of day. Physical activity, stress or anxiety can heighten the level of pain in sufferers.
- Tenderness – Many people with fibromyalgia experience tender spots in the neck, shoulders, upper chest, elbows, upper buttocks, hips and knees.
- Fatigue – Ninety percent of people who suffer from fibromyalgia describe feeling moderate to severe fatigue. They compare it to the lack of energy that is felt when one has the flu or an extreme lack of sleep.
- Sleep disorders – Many fibromyalgia sufferers have disrupted sleep patterns and may wake frequently during the night. Even if they are able to sleep well, they still may wake up feeling groggy.
- Memory problems – Fibromyalgia can also affect short and long-term memory. The cognitive problems associated with fibromyalgia are sometimes known as “fibrofog,” which can limit a person’s ability to multi-task and make them unable to do simple tasks like grocery shopping.
- Depression and anxiety – The chronic symptoms of fibromyalgia, combined with a lack of understanding from the medical community and lack of a cure, can make people with the condition feel alone and hopeless. Getting psychological help can be essential, as sufferers have noted emotional distress is a factor in their more severe pains.
Because fibromyalgia has no cure, doctors focus on managing symptoms and providing pain relief. Some common treatments include using analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), muscle relaxants and antidepressants. Lyrica (Pregbalin) is the first drug approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia. In one study, about half of fibromyalgia sufferers reported improvement after taking Lyrica.
The Challenges Of A North Carolina Fibromyalgia Claim
One difficult aspect of fibromyalgia is that no one person is affected the same way. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it can take years to diagnose because pain and fatigue – the hallmark symptoms of fibromyalgia – are present in a host of other illnesses and medical conditions. There is no specific laboratory test or clinical scan that can definitively recognize fibromyalgia, so doctors must rule out other possible disorders such as lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, restless leg syndrome, thyroid disease or chronic headaches.
Possible causes of fibromyalgia include:
- Accidents, injuries or traumatic experiences – Research indicates that a large portion of people with fibromyalgia note that symptoms began after a traumatic event. The most commonly reported events included car crashes and workplace accidents. The challenge for obtaining damages or workers’ compensation benefits in these cases stems from needing to prove cause and effect (for example, you fell on the job, and that fall directly led to your fibromyalgia).
- Heredity – Like many medical conditions, fibromyalgia may be present in a person’s family history. This, in turn, may predispose them to the syndrome.
- Infection – Hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, parvovirus and Lyme disease all have similar symptoms and have been linked to fibromyalgia.
- Autoimmune disorders – The body’s immune system is designed to rid a person’s body of anything that it deems a threat to the person’s health. But sometimes the immune system does not differentiate and attacks its own tissues. Autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma and Goodpasture’s syndrome.
Our Raleigh Fibromyalgia Lawyers Are Ready To Help
Hardison & Cochran handles many injury and workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina where the injured person has fibromyalgia. If you or a loved one needs a lawyer to handle your fibromyalgia claim, make sure the attorney has experience representing clients who suffer from fibromyalgia. Contact Hardison & Cochran today or call 800-434-8399.