A medical sign is something your doctor finds while physically examining you. Medical signs are different than self-reported symptoms. Symptoms are things you tell your doctor about.
Examples of Medical Signs
Yes, this is a medical sign: Fever, high blood pressure, a rash, palpably swollen lymph nodes (that your doctor can feel), an examination finding severe muscle weakness, significant weight change.
No, this is not a medical sign: Fatigue, back pain, stomach ache, headache. These are self-reported symptoms.
Why Are Signs Important?
In order to get approved, you need to show that you have some kind of “objective medical evidence”.
Many conditions are very easy to get evidence for you just take bloodwork or a biopsy and you have evidence. All done! For people with invisible illnesses like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, this is not always so easy!
Luckily, Social Security will consider medical signs to be objective medical evidence. Many people with CFS/ME find that all or most of their lab tests come back “normal.” If this happens to you, it is still possible to get approved using a medical sign as your evidence. How Jasmine Got Approved Using Medical Signs
Ideally, you would like your medical signs to be listed in an RFC form or a doctor’s letter.
Medical Signs For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The Social Security Ruling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome includes the following medical signs: One or more medical signs clinically documented over a period of 6 or more consecutive months:
- Palpably swollen or tender lymph nodes on physical examination
- Nonexudative pharyngitis
- Persistent, reproducible muscle tenderness on repeated examinations, including the presence of positive tender points
- Any other medical signs that are consistent with medically accepted clinical practice (for example: Frequent viral infections with prolonged recovery; Sinusitis; Ataxia; Extreme pallor; and Pronounced weight change, other symptoms).