More Than a Headache: Chronic Migraines and SSD

Have you ever come home from a stressful day with a dull throbbing in your head, or woken up after a night of overindulgence with a pulsating pain? If you have, you know that a headache is an unpleasant experience. After a stressful day or a wild night, a headache is a common occurrence. While temporarily painful and distracting, they can usually be subdued by painkillers and rest.

But if you find yourself experiencing persistent and debilitating pain, you might be dealing with something worse than the average headache.

What is a Migraine?

When someone suffers from  severe, long-lasting headaches, they suffer from migraines. Like a regular headache, a migraine can be triggered by lights, sounds, and stress, or may be triggered by alcohol, environmental changes, or certain foods or medications.  Most migraine sufferers  begin experiencing them during adolescence, and women are more likely to be affected than men, especially during hormonal changes, like menstruation or pregnancy.

Stages and Symptoms

During a migraine, sufferers may experience:

  • Pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

For some people, migraines are combined with auras, visual disturbances that occur before or during a migraine. They might experience wavy vision or see flashes of light. Other people experience vision loss, as well as physical symptoms, including difficultly speaking, facial numbness, or jerking movements.

The effects of a migraine can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. During the period after a migraine, many people continue to feel confusion, weakness, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Do Migraines Qualify for SSD?

Due to these symptoms, many people with chronic migraines find themselves unable to successfully handle a job. According to The Migraine Research Foundation, 90% of migraines sufferers say they are unable to work during a migraine attack. This is why severe, chronic migraines may be enough to qualify someone for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

For someone to qualify for SSD, they must show that their health problem significantly limits their ability to function, to the point where they cannot perform basic work activities on a daily basis. If someone only has infrequent migraines, they are unlikely to qualify for SSD, because their condition does not affect them on a daily basis.

Since migraines may be treated through medications, the Social Security Administration will generally only qualify someone for SSD if they have tried such medications without success. If someone is able to perform daily work functions with medication for their migraines, they will likely not qualify for SSD. Similarly, the chronic migraines must affect a person’s ability to do any kind of work. For example, if someone is unable to work in a noisy factory, but can successfully function in a quiet office environment, they will not qualify for SSD, since they can still do some work despite their limitations.

Here to Help

Migraines are not just bad headaches. They are a deliberating health condition, and can greatly affect a person’s ability to work. If you suffer from chronic migraines, don’t face the complex issues of SSD alone! Talk to an experience Social Security Disability to find out more about your options.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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