What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that impacts the body’s ability to process and respond to painful and non painful nerve signals. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can present gradually over time, but oftentimes they begin after an event, such as a physical trauma, surgery, or significant psychological stress. The connection between severe psychological trauma and fibromyalgia is one of the reasons it is such a common condition among veterans, because the psychological stress associated with military life and combat often have profound impacts on the physical and mental health of service members.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, doctors can prescribe a variety of medications which can help control its symptoms. In addition to the common symptoms listed above, additional signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Migraines and other types of headaches
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
How The VA Rates Fibromyalgia In Veterans
Under 38 CFR § 4.71a, the VA evaluates fibromyalgia according to the severity of the condition and its impact on the veteran’s daily functioning.
Diagnostic Code 5025: Fibromyalgia (fibrositis, primary fibromyalgia syndrome) with widespread musculoskeletal pain and tender points, with or without associated fatigue, sleep disturbance, stiffness, paresthesias, headache, irritable bowel symptoms, depression, anxiety, or Raynaud’s-like symptoms:
- 40 – That are constant, or nearly so, and refractory to therapy
- 20 – That are episodic, with exacerbations often precipitated by environmental or emotional stress or by overexertion, but that are present more than one-third of the time
- 10 – That require continuous medication for control
For VA evaluation purposes, widespread pain means pain in both the left and right sides of the body, that is both above and below the waist, and that affects both the axial skeleton (i.e., cervical spine, anterior chest, thoracic spine, or low back) and the extremities.
Getting Help With Your Fibromyalgia Claim
If you or someone you know is a veteran with fibromyalgia who is looking to get service connection for his or her condition, or who would like to appeal an unfavorable VA decision, please contact our office today for a free case evaluation. Our experienced veterans disability attorneys are ready to help.