Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex and disabling illness that is marked by extreme fatigue, that cannot be fully explained by an underlying medical condition, that gets worse with physical or mental activity, but does not improve with rest. People who suffer from ME/CFS often also experience sleep that isn’t refreshing, difficulties with memory, focus and attention and dizziness exacerbated by change of position.
A hallmark symptom of ME/CFS is a worsening of symptoms after physical, mental or emotional effort. This is known as “post-exertional malaise” and it can last for day or weeks after the exertion. People who experience post-exertional malaise can have difficulty balancing between undertaking activities that they need or want to do when they feel able, and limiting their activities or getting enough rest so as to minimize the effects of post-exertional malaise. This can lead to a vicious cycle of periods of undertaking activities (such as grocery shopping, or visiting with friends and family) when a person feels able, followed by days or weeks of extreme fatigue and feeling unwell.
There is no cure for ME/CFS and treatment generally focuses on activity management and pacing strategies, the goal of which is to find a balance between rest and activity to avoid post-exertional malaise flare-ups. Your doctor will work with you to find your individual limit for mental and physical activity that you can withstand without a flare-up and develop strategies to reduce pain, improve sleep and address mental health concerns that can often accompany chronic illnesses such as ME/CFS.
If you are suffering from ME/CFS, your doctor may advise you to cease working so you can maintain your energy for everyday activities of life and improv your overall tolerance. In some cases, even where a person’s doctor has recommended that their patient stop working and has advised that their patient is not capable of working as a result of their condition, insurance companies refuse to accept ME/CFS as a disabling condition or pay disability benefits. Insurance companies may deny a claim for disability benefits based on ME/CFS on the basis of there being a “lack of objective medical evidence of symptoms or a condition that is totally disabling”.
If your doctor has advised you to stop working, but your insurer is denying or has terminated your claim for disability benefits, we may be able to help.
Contact us for a free and confidential consultation where we will review your claim and let you know if there may be something we can do to help you pursue your claim for benefits.