When you file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits due to any kind of illness that causes chronic pain, your pain is a significant part of your claim. In many cases, pain and fatigue (which may itself be caused by the pain you experience) will be the two most limiting symptoms of your condition.
But your pain needs to be documented in your medical records in order for Social Security to take it into account. The more clearly your doctor records your experience with pain in your treatment notes, the better. That means you need to learn how to talk to your doctor about your pain.
Here are some tips for talking about pain:
- Make sure that you mention the timing of your pain. How long have you been experiencing pain? How often do you feel pain? How long does the pain last, on average, when it starts?
- Talk about the things that trigger your pain. Make sure that your doctor knows what causes your pain to worsen, whether that’s standing, sitting, walking, lifting or something else?
- Make sure that all of your pain is documented. If you have joint pain and headaches, for example, make sure that your doctor is aware that you have more than one issue with pain.
- Explain how your pain feels. What is your pain on a scale from one to 10? What sensation do you have with it? Is it burning, stabbing, aching or something else?
- Tell your doctor what relieves your pain. Is it rest? Medication? How do those things limit your activities?
Dealing with a painful, chronic illness is difficult without the assistance you deserve from Social Security. If you’re having trouble with your claim for benefits, find out if an attorney can help.