Migraine at work
When a migraine hits you while youțre at home, there are plenty of options to get rid of it: you can turn off the lights, crawl under the covers, and rest until it goes away. In contrast, at work, you have to deal with the uncomfortable pain until you’re free to go unless you’re able to leave the office early.
According to scientists, more than 90% of people who get migraines say that they can’t function well enough during a migraine attack. Thus, it’s hard to explain to your boss why you can’t focus properly on your work and get anything done. This is due to the fact that migraine is an invisible illness. This makes it impossible for anyone around you to see how much pain you’re in.
Because of that, it is often misunderstood as a simple headache. In reality, it’s much more than that. A migraine is a neurological disease with symptoms that cause throbbing pain, dizziness, and nausea that affects the daily lives of far too many people.
How does migraine affect our workplace and economy?
Migraines aren’t just a big deal to those who directly suffer from them. It also affects employers and the company’s success. According to the National Headache Foundation, missed workdays, and reduced productivity due to migraines cost the American economy more than $20 billion annually. It may seem like an overly hefty price, but we take into consideration how hard it is to get almost anything done in the midst of a migraine and the fact that millions of American workers who often suffer from severe migraine, it makes sense.
How to avoid migraines at work?
More important than treating migraines once they come on is trying to avoid them before they start. This means taking steps to adjust your work routine and office environment as much as possible to mitigate the specific factors that prompt these severe migraine episodes.
Of course, you might not be able to change everything about your work environment to avoid migraines, but it’s crucial to adjust as much as possible what you can control to make the episodes less likely to occur.
Whether you are starting a new job or have been in your role for a while, taking the following steps may help to manage the impact of your migraine in the workplace:
Come clean with your boss
Since there is so much misunderstanding surrounding this condition, telling your employer can seem like a natural thing to do. A migraine isn’t like breaking a hand or having a rush. Its symptoms are invisible. Thus, in this situation, employers are less able to provide support and understand the condition if they don’t even know that you experience them.
So, be honest with your boss about it. This will help you prevent making up excusing when migraine attacks occur. In case they don’t understand why migraine interferes with your work, ask your doctor to write a note explaining migraine and how it can impact your performance.
How should you talk to your boss or coworkers about your migraines?
We know how hard conversations with bosses can be, especially if they are under the false impression that you’re just trying to get some time off for no reason.
So, when touching this subject with your boss or HR representative, make sure you convince them you’re still committed to being a team player and will contribute to your company’s success as soon as you’ll get better.
Stress is a major migraine trigger that will kill your productivity and leave you with none completed tasks. Take a difficult boss and throw in some impossible deadlines, and voila: you have the perfect recipe for a monster migraine!
For better stress management, follow these tips:
- Take five-minute breaks throughout the workday to meditate, get some fresh air, and just allow your body to refresh a little
- Cut big projects into smaller chunks to make them more manageable
- Don’t let grievances simmer. Discuss any issues you’re having with your manager, HR, or a supportive co-worker.
Control other triggers
Even though stress is a common trigger for migraines, there are a lot of other factors that can set off a blinding migraine, such as bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells. Of course, you’ll not be able to eliminate all of them, but at least you can minimize the impact of some of them:
- Dim the lights
Turn down the brightness on your computer monitor, install an anti-glare screen, or dim the overhead lights in your cubicle or office. This will help reduce pressure from your eyes and allow them to work properly for a longer time.
- Turn down the volume
If you have an office, muffle outside noises by simply closing the door. In case you have to listen to the office noise and all the outside sounds, just wear earplugs or use earbuds with active noise cancellation to drown out all the sounds and concentrate better on your work.
- Remove strong odors
In case you have “lovely colleagues” who wear heavy perfume or cologne, kindly ask them to take it easy on the scents. Also, you can try to explain your sensitivity to your office manager, so they can ask the cleaning crew to avoid using strong-smelling chemicals.
Stock your office
Just in case a severe migraine occurs when you’re in the middle of a very important task or there are no possibilities for you to get some rest, keep an anti-migraine kit at work.
Have a drawer full of pain relievers, anti-nausea medications, a cold pack, and anything else that helps you manage your migraines. Also, keep water and snacks handy to avoid dehydration and hunger, two big migraine triggers. Stock up on high protein snacks to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day.
Use Migraine Glasses!
Using Terramed Migraine Glasses during your workday will have a positive effect on your productivity and well-being. Terramed migraine glasses function to absorb and prevent the most harmful migraine-inducing light from both natural and synthetic light sources from entering your eyes. It effectively prevents migraine attacks from ever triggering or works to lessen the intensity of an ongoing attack.
Terramed’s lens will not only protect your eyes but also your brain and overall well-being. By blocking blue light in this range, the user will ensure their light sensitivity improves and they will get fewer migraines.
You'll probably forget you're even wearing them as your color perception remains intact and your color contrast increased.
Migraine attacks are your enemies when it comes to working and getting tasks done. They can be debilitating, making it difficult to concentrate or get anything accomplished at work. In many cases, you may need to pack up your things and go home to rest until it goes away. Or, you can make the best of your work environment and use migraine glasses to help you manage this problem.