Gulf War Veterans who develop fibromyalgia do not have to prove a connection between their illnesses and military service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. CFS must have emerged during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by unexplained, widespread pain throughout the body, persisting longer than 3 months. There is no known direct cause or cure for fibromyalgia, but there are effective treatments to manage symptoms. Fibromyalgia has been linked to repetitive injuries, physical and emotional trauma, stress, and infections.
Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach that includes a doctor and physical therapist. Prescription drugs have been approved by the FDA for treatment of fibromyalgia.
The main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain in muscles, tendons and other soft tissues, accompanied by “trigger points” that hurt when pressure is applied. These specific tender points are on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. Other symptoms may include fatigue, sleep disturbances, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headache, impaired memory and concentration, and morning muscle stiffness.
If you are concerned about fibromyalgia, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator. If you are not enrolled in the VA health care system, find out if you qualify for VA health care.
Gulf War Veterans may be eligible for VA disability compensation and health care benefits for fibromyalgia, other medically unexplained illnesses (such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and certain infectious diseases.
Research on fibromyalgia and other illnesses
A study on Gulf War Veterans’ health by VA found that 1990-1991 Gulf War deployment is associated with an increased risk for fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, skin conditions, and dyspepsia.