Polymyositis is one of the inflammatory myopathies, a group of muscle diseases that involves inflammation of the muscles or associated tissues, such as the blood vessels that supply the muscles. A myopathy is a muscle disease, and inflammation is response to cell damage. According to the Myositis Association, polymyositis is characterized by gradual muscle weakness. The weakness typically begins with the muscles closest to and within the trunk of the body, such as those in the neck, hip, back and shoulder. Some polymyositis patients also experience muscle pain, breathing problems, and trouble swallowing. The Mayo Clinic says that remission in the persistent inflammatory muscle disease that causes weakness of the skeletal muscles, which control movement, are rare.
I represent a 54 year old former warehouse clerk forklift driver with polymyositis. The claimant’s rheumatologist, which is the specialist that typically treats polymyositis, provided a report indicating that the claimant lacked the ability to perform even sedentary worked as a result of the muscle weakness and pain from the polymyositis. While the claimant also has neck problems, with an MRI revealing that the discs are impacting the spinal cord, the claimant’s Social Security Disability application was approved today based solely on the polymyositis.
As noted above, the claimant’s rheumatologist concluded that the claimant lacked the ability to work, and blood testing that substantiated the polymyositis supported his opinion. Nevertheless, the application was approved based upon the opinion of a non-examining rheumatologist who testified at today’s hearing that the claimant met listing 14.05 for polymyositis.