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Migraine Headaches

One of the most challenging conditions we see in our clients is migraines.  Although they vary in severity, anyone who gets migraines will tell you there’s no such thing as a “mild” one.  One of our goals is to give our clients the best help they can receive so that they may live a normal life despite not being able to work.  Having migraines can seriously impair your ability to work, and we’d like to help you understand this condition.

According to MAGNUM (The National Migraine Association), migraines are the result of a genetic neurological disorder, causing pain in the head, sometimes on just one side.  The complicated part of this condition is making a correct diagnosis.  Since the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells can be associated with many other conditions, it makes it difficult for doctors to pinpoint the root of the problems a patient is experiencing.

In recent years, much research has been conducted on migraines, with several breakthroughs about understanding how they happen, and what causes them.  For instance, people thought at one time it was physical condition, but new findings indicate it is neurological.  The factors that can cause migraines are hormonal changes, certain foods (for instance, alcohol, chocolate, or overuse of caffeine), stress or medications.  Doctors can now aid you in your battle with migraines when a proper diagnosis is made, due to the new understanding of this condition.  They can also use CT scans, MRI’s, and a lumbar puncture to see even further on whether you have this condition or not.

Treatment for migraines is usually a doctor prescribing drugs, ones that are taken either during a migraine or on a regular basis to prevent them.  Again, migraines differ between one person and the next, so getting the proper treatment and tests is essential.  Making sure that you are clear and direct with your doctor is the most important thing you can do, because of the fact that what causes the migraines differ so much from one person to the next. And, for instance, if stress is causing the migraines you will likely be referred for psychotherapy. In this case, you would end up seeing two doctors for the condition. This is not unusual; many migraine patients need closely coordinated care with several different specialists.

Social Security evaluates disability cases essentially in one of two ways: either by comparing the claimant’s medical condition to a medical condition described in the “medical listing of impairments”, or in the commonsense way of evaluating the overall effect of the claimant’s symptoms on their ability to work.

Social Security defines “work” as an eight hour a day, five-day week endeavor. As in most Social Security Disability claims, the judge’s decision boils down to whether or not he or she believes that you can perform the basic functions of work (sitting, standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, interacting appropriately with people encountered in the workplace, etc.). The fact that a claimant can only perform these basic functions sporadically, but not consistently, is the basis for the large majority of successful Social Security Disability claims.

We have seen how difficult having migraine headaches can be, and we want you to know that we will take such cases very seriously. We encourage you to call us for any questions you might need answered, or would like to inquire about our services.  Migraines might be a complicated condition to have, but rest assured it is very possible to win a case if you or someone you know is suffering from migraines.


Some suggested articles for further reading:

  1. http://www.migraines.org/
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/migraine.html
  3. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/
  4. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/