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Facial Pain and Trigeminal Neuralgia

According to the Mayo Clinic, trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. Mild stimulation to the face, such as brushing your teeth or putting on make-up may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain. More specifically, symptoms can include episodes of severe, shooting or jabbing pain that feel like an electric shock, bouts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes, and a constant aching, burning feeling that may occur before it evolves into the spasm like pain of trigeminal neural. Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more often than men, and it is more likely in individuals over age 50.

If you are suffering form this condition and are unable to work, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits.

There are two methods of proving that you are “disabled” pursuant to the Social Security Act. The first method involves meeting the requirements of a listed impairment in the Social Security Administration’s “blue book” of impairments. If you are not suffering from a disability that is contemplated by the listings or do not have the rigid diagnostic criteria in your medical records to meet a listing, you may still be found disabled based on your residual functional capacity. Your “residual functional capacity” refers to the most that you are still able to do in spite of your severe impairments. If your residual functional capacity prevents you from performing your past work and/or certain other work, you would still be found disabled even without meeting a listing.

Unfortunately, there is no listing for trigeminal neuralgia. Thus, being found disabled will require a showing that you are unable to perform your past work or certain other work depending on your age (if you are under 50 you must generally show that you cannot perform any work. As you get older, though, the bar lowers). An individual with trigeminal neuralgia who is unable to perform work as a result of their pain symptoms and resulting concentration issues, needs to take extra breaks, or would need to be frequently absent from work due to their symptoms can be found disabled.

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