Tension Headaches

According to the US National Library of Medicine, a tension headache “is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck, and is often associated with muscle tightness in these areas.” Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and the pain may feel like a band is squeezing the patient’s head. Tension headaches occur when neck and scalp muscles become tense, or contract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, head injury, or anxiety.

It’s important to know that tension headaches are just one type of headache. Talking to a physician about your headaches can help you determine whether you have tension headaches, migraines, or another headache condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Tension Headaches?

The symptoms of tension headaches manifest differently from person to person, but there a number of distinctive symptoms many people with tension headaches experience. Here are ten common, debilitating symptoms of tension headaches:

– Mild to moderate pain or pressure in the front, top, or sides of the head
– Headache that starts later in the day
– Trouble sleeping
– Feeling very tired
– Irritability
– Trouble focusing
– Mild sensitivity to light or noise
– Muscle aches
– Tightness of neck, scalp muscles
– Tightness of jaw or shoulder muscles

People who experience tension headaches may also discover triggers that can induce tension headaches. These may include fatigue, hunger, anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, low iron levels, and other environmental or physiological factors.

Proving Service Connection And Unemployability for Tension Headaches

In the federal regulations that establish the VA’s rating schedules for different conditions (38 CFR), only “migraine headaches” are listed. However, other headache conditions like tension headaches can be evaluated for service connection and compensation with the same standards used for migraine headaches, because the conditions are “closely analogous” under 38 CFR 4.20.

So, if your tension headaches were diagnosed in service, within twelve months of discharge, or as a secondary condition to another service-connected impairment, you are eligible for service connection. Service medical treatment records, VA medical records, and records of other doctor and clinic visits can help prove that your tension headaches occurred during or shortly after your service.

Veterans with tension headaches know that severe headaches can make regular daily tasks nearly impossible, including the demands of a work setting. However, because the VA uses the rating schedule for migraine headaches to evaluate all headache conditions, the maximum schedular disability rating for tension headaches is 50 percent (see the rating schedule below). If you are a veteran totally unable to work due to your tension headaches, getting the maximum monthly benefits you deserve usually requires a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU rating).

Robert A. Friedman & Associates has developed effective legal strategies to win TDIU ratings for headache conditions. If your headaches require you to lie down for long periods of time on a regular basis, our firm’s advocates can prove to the VA that you are unable to work using the opinions of vocational and medical experts. This generally leads the VA to grant the veteran 100 percent compensation under a TDIU rating. Statements from other servicemembers, coworkers, or family members who can attest to the debilitating and prostrating nature of your tension headaches can help you win full unemployability. Keeping a headache journal will also help prove the frequency and severity of your headaches to the VA.

Rating Schedule for Tension Headaches

Tension headaches and other headache conditions are evaluated using the rating schedule for migraine headaches, with a maximum schedular rating of 50 percent.

50 Percent:
With very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability

30 Percent:
With characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months

10 Percent:
With characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months

0 Percent (Noncompensable):
With less frequent attacks

Win Unemployability Benefits for Your Tension Headaches

If you are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces who cannot work due to your tension headaches and/or other service-connected conditions, having experienced disability advocates working for you gives you the best chance of winning your disability claim. The VA disability attorneys of Friedman Disability have helped over 5,000 veterans win TDIU ratings and maximum monthly benefits, and we know exactly what it will take to win a TDIU rating for your tension headaches. There are no fees for our fast, effective legal services until we win your claim. To get started with a free legal consultation, call our offices at 800-742-5035, or visit https://veterans-disability-lawyers.com/contact-us.