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Chronic pain may qualify for Social Security disability benefits

For workers who suffer from chronic pain, there may seem to be limited treatment options available. Much is not understood about the causes of chronic pain, and when it becomes unbearable, a worker may question how to compile adequate evidence to qualify for disability benefits.

The Social Security disability insurance program recognizes chronic pain as a potentially qualifying disability. However, an attorney who focuses on disability law will caution against underestimating the SSDI application process. With nearly four out of every ten applications denied, an applicant should do his or her best to document how a chronic pain condition impacts functioning and prevents substantial, gainful work.

For individuals suffering from chronic pain, a new treatment approach may offer hope. Although it may not cure the source of chronic pain, prescribing antidepressants might play a role in reducing it. Researchers suspect that depression aggravates pain symptoms, possibly supplying patients with more energy to explore alternative treatments. Although there is no precise formula, the endorphins and adrenaline released during exercise or yoga might provide temporary alleviation from pain symptoms.

Unfortunately, current approaches to chronic pain often involve addictive painkillers, such as opiates. In addition to the risk of physical addition, a patient might also experience side effects to pain medication, such as stomach upset or constipation. Such pharmaceutical products are also expensive, perhaps involving substantial out-of-pocket expenses. Without sources of assistance, like SSDI payments, some chronic pain patients may be unable to make ends meet and continue exploring treatment options. Needless to say, it is in a chronic pain patient’s best interest to explore options with an experienced disability benefits attorney.

Source: PBS Newshour, “Can antidepressants offer hope to those suffering chronic pain?” Ruth Tam, July 9, 2014

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