Migraines can cause visual disturbances, nausea, difficulty speaking, fainting, confusion, and extreme sensitivity to light or sound. Because of these serious effects, migraines are recognized as a disability eligible for VA benefits.
How PTSD Can Lead to Migraines
Migraine disorder is a genetic neurological disease, but there are a number of factors that can trigger attacks and make the condition harder to manage. Experts believe the emotional stress and tension that is a hallmark of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one significant factor.
According to the American Headache Society, a study of the general population found that 21.5% of individuals suffering from migraines had been diagnosed with PTSD. This is significantly higher than the 4.5% PTSD rate found in people without headache disorders.
The link between PTSD and migraines is even stronger among those who have also suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Suffering a TBI can cause the same type of abnormal activity in the brain that is associated with migraine headaches.
Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) have demonstrated a higher rate of TBIs than those who served in World War II, Vietnam, or Korea. They are also four times more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD due to their on-the-ground combat. As such, it comes as no surprise that these Veterans are reporting very high rates of disabling migraine headaches.
Receiving a Secondary Service Connection
If you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and migraines, you can increase your VA disability benefits by listing migraines as a secondary service-connected disability. You will need to provide detailed medical evidence supporting your diagnosis and linking your migraines to military service. If you suffered from migraines before entering the military, you will not be able to receive benefits for the condition unless you can prove that your migraines were aggravated by your PTSD and military service.
Working with an experienced Veterans benefits lawyer is often the best way to gather the evidence necessary to gain a secondary service connection for your migraines. Call the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, to learn how we can help you access the VA disability benefits you need to support yourself and your family.