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Fibromyalgia in Gulf War Veterans

Gulf War Veterans who develop fibromyalgia do not have to prove a connection between their illnesses and service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. Fibromyalgia 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.

About fibromyalgia

Man with hand covering pain spot on back

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.

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.

Symptoms 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.

To learn more about fibromyalgia, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Medline Plus.

Health concerns?

If you are concerned about fibromyalgia, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Not yet enrolled in the VA health care system? Find out if you qualify for VA health care.

VA benefits

Gulf War Veterans may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including a Gulf War Registry health exam, the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, health care, and disability compensation for diseases related to military service. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.

Learn more about benefits related to Gulf War service.

Research on fibromyalgia

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.

View more research on health effects of Gulf War service.


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