Migraines can truly be debilitating for those suffering from them. Majority of the time, it is not just a headache you will be suffering from either. Other symptoms include throbbing pain, nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound.
A migraine is usually characterized by a pulsing sensation on the side of the head. The pain could last hours or days depending on the severity of the pain.
Migraines are considered chronic if they occur more than 15 days a month, out of a three month period. If this happens, seeing a doctor is crucial.
Migraines also have different phases. The Mayo Clinic goes through those phases and different outside factors that could be causing your headaches.
According to the VA, a study showed that 36% of Veterans who were deployed for over 12 months came home with migraines.
What are they caused by
Veteran migraines could be caused by a handful of military-related factors. These include TBI, exposure to loud noises such as explosions, burn pits or PTSD, but many times the migraines are a problem all alone.
Migraines can also lead to a multitude of other health issues through a secondary diagnosis. This could include depression, chronic fatigue or sleep apnea.
How to get your migraines diagnosed
The first step in getting your migraines diagnosed is to see a neurologist or headache specialist. They need to rule out the possibility of another severe head injury. The doctor should also be able to suggest other courses of treatment.
Before going into the doctor, put together a list of specific things that could trigger the migraines. This can help your healthcare provider narrow down what could be causing the headaches, and suggest a better course of treatment.
Before filing for a claim, you must have a migraine diagnosis from a headache specialist or VA doctor.
Determine if it is a primary or secondary claim
When going through the process of filing your migraine claim, you can choose to submit it as a primary claim. As a primary claim, the migraines can be claimed by itself.
This is easiest done if you received treatment for migraines during service. Gaining those service medical records is the most foolproof way to prove your migraines, accompanied with a neurologist’s statement.
Another option is if other medical records show an explosion or burn pit that you were near. There is already a link between these two and migraines.
If migraines are because of another symptom such as PTSD, a secondary claim will be filled. Treatment letters will be needed to show this as a secondary to the original claim.
If you need help figuring out if a primary or secondary claim would be better for you, our team of Veterans would love to help you sift through the difficulty of VA claims.
Ask your doctor about what medications you can try. Not all of them will work so consider the adverse effects they may have carefully. You don’t want to end up with side effects worse than the original problem. The VA has some options for improving pain management as well.
The most popular option for those suffering from migraines is different prescription options. Your doctor can narrow down what specific prescriptions can help.
Another option would be therapy, which has had some success. Changing your diet is another option which you can talk about with your healthcare provider. Botox is always an option, but most VA clinics will not cover this as a treatment plan.
Write down the severity of your migraines, the frequency, when they occur, and what if any medicine helped before getting advice on treatment options. With your claim, you must be as thorough as possible for the VA to award you properly. Write in detail about how the headaches affect you. Having in writing that you need to lay down in a dark room and cannot go to work during migraine episodes is far more descriptive and convincing then you have a headache a week.