How Is Fibrositis Different From Fibromyalgia?

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Question

Does Social Security consider fibrositis the same as fibromyalgia, and not grant disability benefits for it?

Answer

There is a lot of confusion over the various terms for fibromyalgia (FM) or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). This is partly caused by the fact that, in the early days of fibromyalgia, little was understood about it. Both fibrositis and fibromyositis are former names for fibromyalgia. While fibrositis, or fibrositis syndrome, is sometimes still used as a synonym for fibromyalgia, it is really a misnomer, since fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory disorder of connective tissue (-itis signifies inflammation). Similarly, fibromyositis is chronic inflammation of a muscle. While fibrositis and fibromyositis have some symptoms in common with fibromyalgia, FMS does not involve inflammation.  

Fibromyalgia is increasingly thought to be associated with abnormal pain processing areas of the brain, making it a neurological disorder, rather than a rheumatological disorder. However, if you plan to apply for disability benefits for fibromyalgia, it's best to see a rheumatologist, as these doctors have the most experience with fibromyalgia. Some patients with fibromyalgia have been granted Social Security disability benefits. For more information, see our article on getting disability benefits for fibromyalgia.

Also, many people with fibromyalgia also have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); both syndromes share symptoms in common. As a result, reading our article on disability for CFS may help you win your disability claim for fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is also similar to myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), another soft tissue syndrome, although fibromyalgia involves multiple tender points, while MPS is said to involve various trigger points that can refer pain elsewhere. Patients with myofascial pain syndrome may be able to qualify for disability as well, and Social Security would likely evaluate it in a similar way to fibromyalgia; see our disability article on fibromyalgia.

Updated by: , J.D.

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