Throughout these medical summaries, emphasis has been placed on the critical importance of substantiating subjective symptoms, including pain, with objective diagnostic and examination findings.  This bears reiterating here. No disability carrier will approve a claim that is predicated solely on unsubstantiated complaints of pain.

Still, while not a medical disorder in and of itself, pain is a common feature of many disability claims. If properly substantiated and consistent with other evidence in the medical records, the presence of pain can support an award of benefits.

For example, there is a condition known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (or complex regional pain syndrome). RSD produces severe, unremitting pain that typically involves one limb of the body. Properly diagnosed, RSD can result in an award of disability benefits.  However, the diagnosis must be accompanied by the presence of one or more objective clinical signs that are characteristic of RSD—swelling, skin changes, abnormal hair or nail growth, osteoporosis, and/or involuntary movements of the affected limb—before benefits will be awarded.  

The same is true of other subjective symptoms, including fatigue.  Without a proper medical basis, they receive short shrift in disability cases. However, where a proper medical foundation has been established, they can make the difference between winning and losing.

Frank understands the significance of pain and fatigue. He also knows how important it is lay a solid medical foundation before relying on such symptoms to help establish a claim.  It’s a sad fact that many otherwise deserving individuals have failed to receive benefits due them as a result of poor claim preparation. Unfortunately, it didn’t have to be that way and might have worked out differently with good legal representation.