The Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE, is the most common disability test used, and it only collects data during the test period itself, and ignores pain and other symptoms that flare later…

Michael’s long-term disability carrier asked him to take a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) to “see” if he could work. This was a series of light exercises that included toe-touching, carrying a ten pound weight, crawling, walking, and sitting. The evaluation lasted about two hours. Michael’s attorney, who has fibromyalgia herself, felt that this FCE testing protocol was, by its very nature, misleading, and would drastically underestimate Michael’s true disability. How, she asked, could two hours of testing reveal how Michael would handle an eight hour a day job, for 40 hours every week? She also complained that the FCE would not reflect any information in its report about how Michael felt and functioned that night, or through the next day, when his symptoms were most likely to flare…

Those who administer the FCE seem to believe that the current test really does predict everything. However, this faith is almost certainly wrong. I have searched the scientific literature and have not found a single scientific paper that even attempts to measure the accuracy of the FCE for predicting the long-term work capability of people with fibromyalgia…

Sensibly, the FDA requires that we routinely collect data on symptoms and performance for one week before as well as one week after each time we do an exercise stress test on a patient…

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