Pain can be caused by any number of conditions including spinal column anomalies, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, traumatic injuries and/or undiagnosed conditions.
When pain is the predominant symptom, issues that must be kept in mind are other-caused symptoms, policy coverage and proof of disability.
Medically, pain may cause other symptoms such as fatigue due to interrupted sleep, lack of focus, depression and/or anxiety. All of these combine to cause disability.
With respect to insurance policy coverage, be aware some policies limit coverage to two years for a disability based on pain. These policies limit coverage for pain as it is the type of symptom that is not provable by tests or imaging studies.
As important, the proof of disability is made more difficult because there are no tests or imaging studies which detect pain or the extent of pain experienced by an individual. Simply submitting medical records from your doctor(s) will not be enough to secure disability benefits.
When pain is a significant symptom, it is very important to have a supportive medical provider to provide evidence of your disability. Repeated notations in the medical records regarding pain and other-caused symptoms are very important. Clinical examination may reveal indications of pain such as spasms, muscle tenderness and/or decrease in range of motion.
There also may be tests to show the fatigue pain causes, or to show a decrease in range of motion, inability to lift and/or inability to sit/walk for a required period of time. Other tests may demonstrate the impact pain has on an individual’s cognitive abilities and mental status.
Since pain is difficult to prove, a claimant should collect as much information as possible such as maintaining a pain/fatigue log by day recording the time, degree and remedy used to treat the pain/fatigue. Information of a similar nature from friends, family and business associates may also be helpful as proof because observation is made over an extended period.