Commentary | Open Access
Manfred Harth, Warren R Nielson, "Fibromyalgia and Disability Adjudication: No Simple Solutions to a Complex Problem", Pain Research and Management, vol. 19, Article ID 321307, 7 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/321307
Fibromyalgia and Disability Adjudication: No Simple Solutions to a Complex Problem
BACKGROUND: Adjudication of disability claims related to fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome can be a challenging and complex process. A commentary published in the current issue of Pain Research & Management makes suggestions for improvement. The authors of the commentary contend that: previously and currently used criteria for the diagnosis of FM are irrelevant to clinical practice; the opinions of family physicians should supersede those of experts; there is little evidence that trauma can cause FM; no formal instruments are necessary to assess disability; and many FM patients on or applying for disability are exaggerating or malingering, and tests of symptoms validity should be used to identify malingerers.OBJECTIVES: To assess the assertions made by Fitzcharles et al.METHODS: A narrative review of the available research literature was performed.RESULTS: Available diagnostic criteria should be used in a medicolegal context; family physicians are frequently uncertain about FM and/or biased; there is considerable evidence that trauma can be a cause of FM; it is essential to use validated instruments to assess functional impairment; and the available tests of physical effort and symptom validity are of uncertain value in identifying malingering in FM.CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence does not support many of the suggestions presented in the commentary. Caution is advised in adopting simple solutions for disability adjudication in FM because they are generally incompatible with the inherently complex nature of the problem.
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