What Are Post-Concussive Headaches?

Post-concussive syndrome is a condition that can result after a mild traumatic brain injury called a concussion. When someone has post-concussive syndrome, that means his or her concussive symptoms last longer than the expected recovery period. Post-concussive headaches are the most common symptom associated with this condition, and often stick around for the longest amount of time. 

In the military, depending on the assignment, service-members can expect to encounter bomb blasts, vehicular crashes, and combat situations. As a result of this persistent exposure to potential brain-injury causing incidents, active service-members and veterans are more likely to develop concussions than many people in the general population. These concussions can potentially lead to the development of post-concussive headaches, which can be debilitating depending on their severity. Due to the high incidence of concussions and post-concussive headaches among veterans, the VA provides veterans with the opportunity to receive compensation for this condition under the VA disabilities rating system.

Getting Service Connected For Post-Concussive Headaches

The two most important types of records that are needed to prove service connection for post-concussive headaches are medical and service records. Medical records can establish service connection for your condition if you had in-service medical treatment for the condition or private medical records showing treatment during or within one year of completion of service. Service records are important because they can provide proof of the incident that resulted in the concussion or show that the veteran was routinely exposed to situations that could result in head trauma. Any veteran who is thinking about applying for VA disability benefits for his or her post-concussive headaches should look through his or her own records and see what could help them get service connection. The more information the VA has, the more likely it is to assign an accurate rating.

Additional information that can help strengthen a veteran’s claim are statements from people who are familiar with his or her condition, such as doctors, family members, and friends. Sworn statements from these individuals can provide the VA with a better understanding of how post-concussive headaches disrupt this individual’s life and result in a better claim outcome.

How The VA Rates Post-Concussive Headaches

The VA evaluates post-concussive headaches under the same rating schedule as all headache conditions. Under Diagnostic Code 8100, with a maximum schedular rating of 50 percent, post-concussive headaches can be evaluated as follows:

  • 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 (Noncompensible): With less frequent attacks
Helpful definitions

What does the VA mean by the terms “prostrating,” “severe economic inadaptability,” and “very frequent” or “less frequent”? The VA’s Manual M21-1MR defines these terms as follows: 

  • Prostrating – means “causing extreme exhaustion, powerlessness, debilitation or incapacitation with substantial inability to engage in ordinary activities.”
  • Completely Prostrating – means “extreme exhaustion or powerlessness with essentially total inability to engage in ordinary activities.”
  • Severe economic inadaptability – “denotes a degree of substantial work impairment.  It does not mean the individual is incapable of any substantially gainful employment.  Evidence of work impairment includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the use of sick leave or unpaid absence.” (Italics Added)
  • Less Frequent – means “duration of characteristic prostrating attacks, on average, are more than two months apart over the last several months.”
  • More Frequent – means “duration of characteristic prostrating attacks, on average, are less than one month apart over the last several months.” 

Contact The Veterans Law Office About Your Post-Concussive Headaches Claim

If you or someone you know is a veteran suffering from post-concussive headaches, please contact our office today for a free claim evaluation. Whether it’s your first time applying for service connection, or you are seeking to increase your disability rating, our experienced veterans law attorneys have the skills needed to win your claim.