National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2012: Exposing the Painful Stigma of Fibromyalgia

The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) announces May 12 as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

This year’s theme is “Make Fibromyalgia Visible.” This theme was chosen because of the often subjective nature of this difficult to diagnose, and widely misunderstood, disease. Over 10 million Americans suffer from this chronically painful and debilitating condition, however the stigma of this disease’s legitimacy still lingers.

This disease is typically characterized by a constant, dull, and widespread ache, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Fibromyalgia cannot tangibly be diagnosed through labs or x-rays, leaving doctors and patients with an often lengthy and grueling process of elimination.
National Fibromyalgia awareness day serves to promote an understanding of the illness. Through the efforts to put Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain in the public consciousness, the campaign hopes to promote the allocation of recourses for research and education, to provide support and resources for families, and, ideally, to facilitate the removal of the stigma which creates a barrier against treatment and further understanding of the disease.

For more information on the events surrounding National Fibromyalgia Day: Click here.

Kantor & Kantor has successfully represented many clients with Fibromyalgia who have been denied health or disability benefits from their insurance companies. There is often an infuriating obstacle that lies between those with Fibromyalgia and obtaining the benefits needed to continue living a financially secure and relatively healthy life: an unfortunate stigma that this disease does not actually exist. Many insurers and employers do not perceive Fibromyalgia to be a legitimate physical illness. Consequently, many insurance policies treat it as a condition with limited health or disability benefits. Kantor & Kantor understands that the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia can make it extremely difficult to get out of bed, to work, or to receive adequate treatment. We also understand that these symptoms typically do not change over time, necessitating long term disability or health benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Fibromyalgia generally doesn’t lead to other conditions or diseases. But the pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety.” The roots of this are disease are mystifying and ambiguous. Nevertheless, what we can easily gather from the millions of people that suffer with identical symptoms is that its chronicity and incapacitating nature is relentless. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079/DSECTION=complications

An important piece of advice that we have learned from working with our clients is the significance of finding a physician that understands the disease and supports your treatment plan. Additionally, it is much more valuable for you to see a rheumatologist (a musculoskeletal specialist) versus a general internist. Rheumatologists are often far more familiar with Fibromyalgia and can help you get the proper information and treatment.

If you or someone you know has been denied health, short term, or long term disability benefits for fibromyalgia, contact Kantor & Kantor at (800)446-7529 or www.kantorlaw.net. We can help.

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