January 18, 2020

Aleve and/or Tylenol for Migraine Pain Management

Most people will go to any length imaginable in order to make the pain associated with a migraine headache go away.  They are often relegated to taking an assortment of prescription medications to ease the pain and possibly prevent a migraine attack from occurring.  Despite the relative success of these drugs, many migraine sufferers find they cannot take them because of the severe side effects associated with them.  Unfortunately, most individuals must take something in order to combat the migraine because its effects often result in being absent from work, school, and other activities – which is why people with migraines often end up applying for social security disability.  Two new studies published in the journal Headache, however, give some hope to those migraine sufferers who simply cannot take or do not respond well to the traditional drug therapies.  Each of these studies concluded that taking naproxen (or Aleve) and acetaminophen (or Tylenol) reduced migraine pain and recurrence, as well as other migraine symptoms, such as nausea.

In the first study, researchers from Taiwan examined the results of previous studies using naproxen at a dosage level of 500 to 825 milligrams for approximately 2,168 migraine patients.  The researchers found that naproxen reduced the migraine intensity, pain, and symptoms within two hours of taking it, according to Reuters.  This resulted in a “desirable outcome” as defined by the International Headache Society.  Despite this favorable outcome, the researchers also found that naproxen did not always offer the same clinical benefits as triptans, the traditional migraine drugs.  Moreover, the researchers also found that aspirin provided better relief than naproxen in regulating migraine pain.  In fact, according to Reuters, the research team concluded that a 1,000 milligram dose of aspirin was the best treatment option for migraines when compared to naproxen or acetaminophen.  However, many people cannot take triptans or aspirin because of their harsh side effects.  Because of this, Aleve and Tylenol may provide the best alternative to migraine pain management.

In the second study, the manufacturers of Tylenol conducted an examination 378 migraine sufferers who were randomly given Tylenol or a placebo.  Over ninety days, the researchers found that those taking the Tylenol reported reduced pain within an hour of taking the pill, and after two hours, fifty-two percent report little to no pain.  Conversely, those in the placebo group continued to report pain after two hours at a rate of sixty-eight percent.  They also found that Tylenol reduced other migraine associated problems such as nausea and light sensitivity, whereas the placebo did not.

This is great news for migraine sufferers who have reached their wits’ end about how to effectively counter the effects of a migraine.  Taking Tylenol or Aleve are low cost, effective alternatives to the traditional migraine drugs on the market.  Further, it may be easier for people to purchase and take them without having to wait for a prescription or worry about injecting a medication while at work or school.  Because these medications are not approved by the FDA as a migraine treatment, it is best to speak with your doctor about taking them as part of your migraine therapy.  Hopefully, you will get the green light to take something already in your medicine cabinet and get the relief you have been looking for.

The importance of medical evidence

medical recordsGood medical evidence to back up your claim for disability benefits is a must!

This point cannot be stressed enough.  If you suffer from migraine headaches and are claiming disability based on your migraines, you better believe that the adjudicator or Judge assessing your claim will look thoroughly through your comprehensive medical record for evidence to back up your claim. People are often denied benefits due to a lack of records or a failure of the records to match up with their alleged impairments.

Florida Social Security Disability attorney Elizabeth Stakenborg recently posted an article which highlights the importance of medical records in a migraine case.

The article tells the story of a migraine claimant who is actually approved early – without even having to appear at a hearing – thanks to having a solid medical record to confirm her allegations of pain arising from migraines.

When the Administrative Law Judge reviewed the record and saw that the claimant’s statements regarding her limitations were supported by the evidence (including medical records prior to the date she last worked) the claim was awarded.

If you are pursuing a migraine disability claim, please be sure to not only seek treatment for your condition but also to keep record of all of your medical treatment.  When the time comes to submit records to go along with your claim, you want to be sure to have medical records which confirm your allegations.

Does Your Migraine Case Have What It Takes? (Part 2)

In the last post, I introduced a brief migraine case study (involving 40-year-old Megan) and identified what I believed to be the winning elements of her case.  However, since the time of that post, a new issue has been brought to my attention, and that is the issue of whether to see a specialist if you are suffering from migraines and want to pursue a disability claim.

Do I need to see a specialist or is my general/family physician enough?

Physician on white

As we saw with Megan in the beginning of this article, she only consulted with her general physician.  Although the opinions and/or diagnosis of a family physician is credible and is in no way minimized or to be considered as such, the Social Security Administration often will not approve a disability claim on the finding of a general physician, family physician, chiropractor, or a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) alone.

In considering whether to award an individual who suffers from migraine headaches disability benefits, significant weight is given by the SSA to those test results, opinions, and diagnoses of treating headache specialists, neurologists, and/or pain management specialists. So in essence, in order to strengthen your disability claim, it is always advisable to seek the opinion of a physician specializing in your chief complaint.