Syndrome Linking Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s Disease


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Unveiling Link Between Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s Disease

Published on June 15th, 2023 by Eric Slepian

In a groundbreaking Israeli research study, published in 2019, evidence has emerged, shedding light on the connection between Parkinson’s disease (PD) and fibromyalgia (FM). It has been discovered that some individuals who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s also exhibit symptoms of fibromyalgia, leading to a unique and complex syndrome. In the past, it was often thought these patients suffered solely from Parkinson’s misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

Interestingly, this syndrome is more prevalent among women who also experience depression or anxiety. These patients often rely on higher doses of pain medication, antidepressants, and are more likely to be smokers compared to individuals with Parkinson’s alone.

Fibromyalgia-like Syndrome Associated with Parkinson’s Disease

Termed “fibromyalgia-like syndrome associated with Parkinson’s disease” (FLISPAD), this combined diagnosis reveals that individuals with FLISPAD tend to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis at a later age compared to those with fibromyalgia alone.

As advocates for individuals living with disabilities, including fibromyalgia, we have previously provided information on this debilitating condition. Fibromyalgia manifests as chronic and severe pain in various areas of the body, accompanied by a range of distressing symptoms. On the other hand, Parkinson’s disease is characterized as a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, resulting in tremors, stiffness, and slowed movements, as explained by the Mayo Clinic.

Parkinson’s News Today highlights the overlapping symptoms between PD and FM, which include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Rectal discomfort
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Muscle stiffness

Individuals diagnosed with both PD and FM face a heightened risk of experiencing heart failure, depression, anxiety, hypertension, and dementia. Remarkably, the study revealed that 88.3% of patients with this dual diagnosis over a 15-year period were female, with approximately three-quarters of them receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis after Parkinson’s.

Additionally, the group of patients with the dual diagnosis exhibited greater resistance to treatment for Parkinson’s compared to those with Parkinson’s alone. These patients present a challenge, indicating more research is needed to determine unique treatment options for individuals suffering from concurrent PD and FM.

The original article includes a direct link to the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, for further reference and exploration.

Seeking Disability Benefits

For individuals pursuing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is crucial for a qualified physician to consider the potential coexistence of these disorders if either is present, based on the exhibited symptoms. In such disability cases, seeking the assistance of an attorney can prove particularly valuable, as it requires comprehensive efforts to establish a robust medical record, especially when many symptoms are subjective.

According to the law, the Social Security Administration must assess the collective impact of all impairments on an individual’s ability to work. Therefore, thoroughly investigating all symptoms and potential impairments is vital in determining eligibility for benefits.

In conclusion, the discovery of the FLISPAD syndrome has unveiled a hidden connection between Parkinson’s and fibromyalgia. This knowledge emphasizes the importance of thorough medical evaluations and comprehensive disability case preparation for individuals navigating the complex landscape of SSDI and SSI claims.

By understanding and addressing the interplay between these conditions, knowledgeable disability attorneys can help individuals access the support they need to navigate the challenges they face on their path to well-being and financial stability.

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