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Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects approximately five million adults. Studies show that veterans, particularly those who served in the Gulf War, are more frequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia than civilians. Men are less likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, while women are approximately seven times more likely to be diagnosed.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain which is normally accompanied with sleep, memory and mood issues along with fatigue. For it to be considered widespread it must be on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist. It also must affect both the axial skeleton and the extremities.

How to Get VA Disability Rating?

Veterans who have served in the Gulf War and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia do not need to prove service connection. The VA presumes that some health conditions were cause by military service, this means that Gulf War veterans who meet the requirements for a presumptive service connection do not have to prove a link between their illness and military service.

The VA presumes that unexplained symptoms are related to Gulf War service if the veteran has experienced them for six or more months. The illness must have also appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations by December 21, 2021 and be at least 10% disabling.

The eligible theaters of operation include:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Iraq
  • Oman
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The Gulf of Oman
  • The Persian Gulf
  • The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
  • The Gulf of Aden
  • The Arabian Sea
  • The Red Sea
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed and Rated?

To diagnose fibromyalgia a doctor will give a physical exam to diagnose fibromyalgia. There needs to be widespread pain that has lasted over three months. The veterans needs to feel pain above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. The diagnosis must be made by a rheumatologist.

If the veteran suffers from widespread pain and tender points, without or without the accompanying fatigue, stiffness, headaches, etc., they will be rated as follows:

40%If the symptoms are constant, nearly constant, and are resistant to therapy
20%If the symptoms are episodic but present more than 1/3 of the time with “exacerbations often precipitated by environmental or emotional stress or overexertion”
10%If the symptoms require continuous medication to control them


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