Veterans Experience Greater Pain from Migraine and Other Chronic Conditions

Veterans Experience Greater Pain from Migraine and Other Chronic Conditions

Written by Greg Bullock on 12th Feb 2017

Chronic conditions like migraine and other headache disorders are more likely to result in severe pain for veterans compared with non-veterans, according to new findings from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The study is believed to be the “first national estimate of severe pain associated with painful health conditions in veterans,” and further highlights the need to help our veterans manage chronic pain due to these types of conditions.

These findings may not be surprising, given the fact that migraine diagnoses in veterans have been on the rise, especially from recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. A 2008 study of active servicemen and women who were deployed to Iraq revealed that more than one-third had migraine attacks or otherwise exhibited migraine-like symptoms. These soldiers also rated the corresponding pain at or above a six on a ten point pain scale; furthermore, 77% of those with a diagnosis of migraine reported that their military functions had been affected.

It has also been shown that veterans are more prone to suffer a traumatic brain injury or concussion as result of their service as well as have post-concussion symptoms that last longer than civilians with the same condition. These types of injuries can lead to the development of chronic migraine or post-traumatic headache after TBI.

This latest analysis also reinforces prior research showing the high rate of chronic pain among veterans. In fact, it was found that they reported they were nearly 40% more likely to have severe pain. Younger vets were also at greater risk when compared with civilians of the same age, and the pain only increased as they grew older.

At TheraSpecs, we’re doing our part to help make our migraine glasses available to veterans through U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. TheraSpecs are typically ordered through the VA prosthetics department as a durable good and are a great resource for minimizing light-related migraine attacks. Learn more by clicking below.

Read more about post-concussion syndrome & TBI:

Post-Concussion Headaches and Migraines

Post-Concussion Syndrome and Light Sensitivity

10 Symptoms of Moderate or Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)


Nahin RL. Severe pain in veterans: the impact of age and sex, and comparisons to the general population. Journal of Pain. November 21, 2016. pii: S1526-5900(16)30313-3.

Matthias M, McGuire A, Kukla M, et al. A brief peer support Intervention for Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain: A pilot study of feasibility and effectiveness. Pain Medicine. October 14, 2014; Epub ahead of print.

Jeanne M. Hoffman, Sylvia Lucas, Sureyya Dikmen, Cynthia A. Braden, Allen W. Brown, Robert Brunner, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, William C. Walker, Thomas K. Watanabe, and Kathleen R. Bell. Natural History of Headache after Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2011 Sep; 28(9): 1719–1725.

Brett J. Theeler, MD; Renee Mercer, LPN; Jay C. Erickson, MD. Prevalence and Impact of Migraine Among US Army Soldiers Deployed in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Headache. 2008; 48:876-8.

Altalib HH, Fenton BT, Sico J, Goulet JL, Bathulapalli H, Mohammad A, Kulas J, Driscoll M, Dziura J, Mattocks K, Kerns R, Brandt C, Haskell S. Increase in migraine diagnoses and guideline-concordant treatment in veterans, 2004-2012. Cephalalgia. 2016 Feb 25.

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