Can I get Disability for Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Can I get disability benefits if I am suffering from the effects of Myofascial pain syndrome?
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
Myofascial pain syndrome is not listed as an impairment in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book and qualifying for SSDI can be tricky. In order to qualify for disability for MPS, an applicant must prove to the SSA that they have a medically determinable impairment or MDI. This may be difficult because MPS is a chronic pain condition and pain is subjective; only you know how severe your pain is.
Myofascial pain syndrome is one of several conditions characterized by soft tissue pain.
Approximately nine million Americans have been diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), also known as chronic myofascial pain (CMP). MPS is a disorder that affects the connective tissue covering the muscles (fascia) and can impact a single muscle or a group of muscles. Pressure on sensitive points in muscles, called trigger points, causes pain in a muscle and sometimes extends to other unrelated parts of the body. This is known as referred pain. An individual may not experience pain at the actual site of muscle injury or strain, but somewhere else in their body. Pain caused by myofascial pain syndrome can be linked to any part of the body including jaw pain, neck pain, headaches, arm and leg pain, and pelvic pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome often develops from strain on a particular muscle, muscle group, ligament or tendon.
Tight muscle fibers form into knots or trigger points after injury or overuse. Trigger points cause pain throughout the muscle which persists and worsens, resulting in MPS.
In addition to muscle injury, other circumstances may lead to myofascial pain syndrome:
- repetitive motions in jobs or hobbies
- lack of activity; for example, a broken arm that is held in a sling
- stress and anxiety that causes clenching muscles
- poor posture
Though most people have experienced pain caused by muscle tension, the severe discomfort that characterizes myofascial pain syndrome persists and becomes worse. Other symptoms common to MPS include:
- muscle pain generated from a specific trigger point
- deep, aching pain in a muscle
- joint stiffness
- pain that worsens with activity or stress
- difficulty sleeping due to pain
- depression and fatigue
A doctor will diagnose myofascial pain syndrome by applying pressure to specific parts of a muscle to identify trigger points.
There are two types of trigger points: active and latent. An active trigger point produces pain to the surrounding area as well as other parts of the body when pressure is applied. It is often described as a deep pain, dull ache or spreading or radiating pain. A latent trigger point may not be noticed for long periods of time, but may become active if an old injury is aggravated by overuse or stress. While a latent trigger point does not cause spontaneous pain, it may restrict movement or cause muscle weakness.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from Myofascial pain syndrome. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!
Treatment for myofascial pain syndrome usually involves a combination of medications, physical therapy and trigger point injections.
Medications can relieve pain, depression and sleep disturbances while physical therapy and massage can strengthen muscles and relieve muscle tension. Patients may also benefit from non-traditional medicine, such as acupuncture.
Myofascial pain syndrome can be debilitating, affecting an individual’s range of motion and mobility and causing depression and fatigue.
Medications may provide relief, but also bring about side effects that interfere with a person’s daily life, including employment. While it may be disabling, myofascial pain syndrome is not listed as an impairment in Social Security’s Blue Book and qualifying for Social Security Disability Income can be tricky. In order to qualify for SSDI, an applicant must prove to the Social Security Administration that they have a medically determinable impairment or MDI. This may be difficult basically because MPS is a chronic pain condition and pain is subjective; only you know how severe your pain is.
You must provide evidence of objective symptoms and your medical records should include:
- laboratory test results
- details of trigger points that elicit pain or referred pain
- location, duration, frequency and intensity of pain
- medications, including type, dosage, effectiveness and side effects
- treatments, such as acupuncture, and your response
- other methods to relieve pain, such as lying down or applying ice
SSA medical examiners do not meet with the applicants whose records they review and evaluate.
Therefore, it is very important that your doctor document your pain levels in their notes, stating how it affects your ability to perform your job and normal activities and how long your functional limitations will last. You may not be able to stand or walk for more than an hour without ignoring severe pain. You may have difficulty concentrating or remembering instructions. They should list all the things you must do throughout the day to relieve pain, like taking frequent breaks to lie down, nap, stretch or apply ice or heat. At the same time, you should be credible and not exaggerate your symptoms. If Social Security does not believe that your pain is disabling, it may reject your claim.
If your disability does not match a Social Security listing, you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you have another medical condition; for example, arthritis or IBS.
Applicants often have more than one illness or injury that prevents them from working full time. By itself one disorder may not meet the requirements of an impairment as stated in Social Security’s Blue Book. However, if an applicant has multiple medical conditions, Social Security must consider how those health issues, combined together, limit an applicant’s ability to hold a job and perform necessary daily tasks. Social Security will also evaluate how your limitations affect your ability to work (called a medical vocational assessment), taking into account whether or not you are able to drive, your age, and level of education.
If you have myofascial pain syndrome, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income, but getting approval may not be easy.
Your symptoms must last or be expected to last for 12 months and be severe enough to prevent you from working. Also, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to be covered under SSDI. Applying for Social Security benefits can be a long and confusing process. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer with a thorough knowledge of Social Security’s requirements and procedures can evaluate your case and improve your chances for success.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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