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Don't give up on a disability claim for migraines

It can be difficult to get approved for Social Security benefits for migraines -- despite that fact that you may have them so often and so severely that it's utterly impossible to hold a job.

Part of the problem is that migraines are just now being recognized as a real medical condition. For a long time, migraine patients were treated as semi-hysterics. Their pain was seen as largely fictional or neurotic in nature. (Doctors now know that isn't so.)

The other problem is that migraines are notoriously hard to diagnose for certain. While some migraine patients will have tiny white spots on their MRI scans similar to patients with multiple sclerosis, most will not.

So what sort of evidence can you offer a skeptical Social Security examiner that your migraines are chronic and your pain is real? Use these tips:

Make certain that you see your doctor regularly for your migraines

If you are only seeing your primary care physician, ask to see a neurologist (even if you privately believe it won't help). The fact that you keep pursuing treatment adds to your credibility as a patient with a genuine problem.

Keep a diary for your doctor's records

A migraine diary can help reveal unrecognized triggers for your migraines to your doctor. However, once it's in your medical records, it can also help solidify your diagnosis and increase your credibility further. It also become evidence of your migraine frequency -- which goes a long way toward showing why you need disability payments.

Make sure that you record dates, times, duration, possible triggers and symptoms in addition to your pain. Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, halos, flashing lights, sensitivity to smells, sounds and light and balance problems are all common. Those issues may even be more disabling than the pain when they're combined together.

Give every suggested treatment a shot

Within reason, give every treatment your doctor suggests a shot (as long as you don't think it will harm you). Even if you've tried it before or are convinced it won't work, complying with your doctor's suggestions is another way to prove to Social Security that your condition is legit.

It may take an appeal to get your disability claim approved -- but it is possible. Stick with it and get help with your claim if you need it.

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