Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Migraines
An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, and they are among the most prevalent chronic conditions in the world. Migraines can be severely painful, and symptoms often extend far beyond head pain. If you suffer from migraines and find that they interfere with your ability to work, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick’s attorneys have the experience needed to fight for your claim. By gathering thorough medical evidence and opinions from outside experts, CCK will help you build the strongest possible case. You can call us today at 1-800-544-9144 for a free consultation to see if we may be able to help you get the benefits you deserve.
What are Migraines?
For those who do not suffer from migraines, it can be easy to assume that a migraine is simply a very bad headache. This, unfortunately, is far from the case, as migraines can be severely painful attacks that cause more than just head pain. Migraines can include nausea and vomiting, impaired vision, mood changes, and a multitude of other symptoms. Migraines can last from hours to days, prohibiting the sufferer from performing the basic functions of everyday life.
Migraines often occur in four stages, known as the prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome:
- Prodrome: This is the “warning” stage that can begin hours or days before an impending migraine. Symptoms may include mood changes, food cravings, muscle stiffness, and increased thirst, urination, or sleepiness.
- Aura: The aura occurs immediately before a migraine and can include visual disturbances such as blurred or blind spots, flashing lights, zig zags of color, and even vision loss. Auras may also include numbness or tingling on one side of the body, muscle weakness, difficulty speaking, or hearing noises. The aura stage generally lasts no more than 60 minutes.
- Attack: The attack stage, also referred to as the headache stage, is the main stage of a migraine and the most painful. A migraine headache can manifest in intense, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Some describe it as a stabbing or drilling pain inside of their brain. Migraine attacks include extreme sensory sensitivity, such as aversion to light, sound, and sometimes smell or touch. Migraines often include nausea and occasionally vomiting. This stage may last from several hours to upward of several days if left untreated.
- Postdrome: The postdrome is the recovery stage of a migraine. Sufferers may feel fatigued and experience mood change changes. Some people report feeling depressed or irritable, while others feel euphoric. The postdrome has been described as a “migraine hangover,” and can also include muscle stiffness, dizziness, and a general washed-up feeling. This stage might last one or two days.
Not everyone who experiences migraines goes through every stage, and not every migraine episode may include every stage. Migraines are not fully understood, but genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a strong role. Often, when a migraine is triggered, changes in the brainstem cause a reaction with the trigeminal nerve, one of the major pain pathways.
Triggers for migraines can include:
- Sensory stimuli- bright lights, loud sounds, strong smells
- Too little or too much sleep
- Stress and anxiety
- Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
- Food- processed and salty food, eating too little or too much, food additives such as artificial sweeteners or preservatives
- Physical overexertion
- Hormonal changes in women
- Weather or barometric changes
Diagnosis and Treatment for Migraines
A migraine diagnosis is generally based on symptoms, your medical and family history, and the results of a physical and neurological exam. Your doctor will ask detailed questions about the symptoms that accompany your headaches, the severity of the pain, and the effects that your headaches have on your everyday life. A family history of migraines is prevalent in those who are diagnosed, and women are three times more likely to suffer migraines than men, likely due to hormonal fluctuations.
Neurological tests such as MRI or CT scans may also be administered to help diagnose migraines. These tests cannot detect migraines. However, they can be used to rule out other causes of head pain, such as tumors, infections, strokes, or other neurological conditions that may cause symptoms similar to migraines.
It is often recommended that patients keep a diary of their headaches. A diary can be a way to accurately track your symptoms, what may trigger them, how often your headaches occur, and what treatments you have tried in the past. A detailed record can be extremely helpful for your doctor in making a diagnosis.
Treatment for migraines is generally aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing attacks. Pain relievers, prescription drugs, and anti-nausea medications are often prescribed to relieve pain during or at the onset of a migraine. Preventative medications may be prescribed to be taken regularly, usually daily, to prevent migraines from occurring or reduce their frequency and severity. These types of medications might consist of anti-seizure drugs, blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, and supplements to replace substances your body might be low on, such as magnesium, which can affect migraines.
Migraine Headaches and Long-Term Disability Insurance
Migraines, especially if severe and frequent, can have a debilitating effect on the normal functions of your life. When a migraine headache sets in, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to carry out the duties of your job. While some may experience migraines every few months or weeks, others may experience migraines weekly. The effects of a migraine can last for days, and when you find that the symptoms of a migraine are causing you to miss work or are keeping you from performing your job to standard, you may be qualified for long-term disability insurance.
To file a claim for disability insurance, you will need to prove that your migraines prevent you from successfully carrying out the functions of your job. It can be difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks when a migraine attack hits and it may impair your abilities to move, see, and hear without nausea or painful overstimulation of the senses.
When performing sedentary work, migraine pain can interfere with the ability to concentrate and look at a computer screen. Some sufferers are not able to stay upright, and often need to lay down in a dark space. If you find that your migraines are affecting your ability to function successfully at work, you will need to prove that your specific migraine symptoms disable you by acquiring evidence that documents your symptoms and experience.
This is where it can be useful to bring in an attorney. While long-term disability claims start with medical evidence, lawyers can assist you in acquiring evidence not only from physicians and medical experts but from other crucial sources such as vocational experts or personal witnesses. This may be especially important if your claim has been denied and you are filing an appeal, as it may be the last opportunity you have to get evidence into the record.
At Chisholm Chisolm & Kilpatrick, we can ensure that you meet the requirements specified by your policy so that the insurance company approves your claim.
How Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD Can Help with Your Claim
Expert attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick are ready to help you with your long-term disability claim wherever you are in the process. If you suffer from migraines and are filing your initial claim or appealing a wrongful denial of benefits, our legal team can assist you in reviewing your policy and gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim.
In some cases, insurance companies work in their own self-interest instead of prioritizing the interests of the claimant. Our attorneys understand how insurance companies can make it difficult for claimants to prove their disabilities by issuing complicated requirements. We will review your policy and make sure that no requirement is missed, ensuring that you have the evidence needed to prove that you meet your policy’s definition of disability.
CCK attorneys have experience working with medical professionals and know exactly what kinds of medical documentation should be provided to meet the terms of your policy. Additionally, attorneys may bolster your claim by seeking outside opinions from vocational experts who can review the requirements of your job and assess if you are able to perform its functions. Our legal team may also acquire impact statements from personal witnesses who may be able to provide insight as to how your condition affects your daily life.
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick knows that migraine pain is far more than a simple headache and can be debilitating. We want to take the burden of filing for long-term disability insurance off of you so that you can focus on your health and well-being. The legal team at CCK is prepared to fight for the long-term disability benefits you deserve. For a free consultation, call 800-544-9144 today.
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