Slepian Smith, PLLC

Study shows migraines worse when patients also have fibromyalgia

We often talk in this space about diseases or injuries that may in and of themselves prevent people from working. We recently discussed disability based on migraines for purposes of eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSDI and SSI. We also advocate for many clients suffering from fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by chronic pain throughout the body, overwhelming fatigue, problems with cognition and unclear thinking.

A recent Turkish study published in the journal Neurological Research looked at patients suffering from both migraines and fibromyalgia. This could be significant for disabled SSDI and SSI claimants because the law requires that the Social Security Administration consider all impairments in combination when assessing for eligibility. A claim based on both migraines and fibromyalgia suggests that the combined impact of severe pain and debilitation from both conditions could be devastating to the ability to perform a job.

The study also implies that the SSA should consider whether both conditions are present when assessing a claim based on one or the other disorder. Federal law requires the SSA to fully develop the medical record when an impairment may not be sufficiently investigated.

The research findings include:

  • Having both conditions suggests that migraines are likely more severe and more frequent than if the patient had only migraines.
  • Having both impairments makes it likelier that a claimant has migraines with auras (disturbances of sight such as seeing flashing lights or blind spots) than without auras.
  • Having migraines in combination with fibromyalgia is much more common in women with migraines than in men with migraines.
  • Comorbid fibromyalgia with migraine is more common when the migraines are chronic versus episodic.
  • People with both conditions are likelier to have problems with energy, emotions, anxiety, sleep and scalp tenderness.

(The above link is to an article about the study, from which readers can link to the study itself.)

 

 

 

 

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