How to Deal With Migraines at Work

Health Desk
27 July 2019, Sat
Published: 11:33 Updated: 04:11

How to Deal With Migraines at Work

Migraine is most common among adults of working age. For the vast majority of people with migraine their condition should not be a barrier to finding and retaining employment. However, from time to time it may have an unavoidable impact at work and here we outline some general considerations for people with migraine that are employed.

A headache of extremely varying intensity, migraine can result in extreme sensitivity, pain and nausea. It is is often accompanied by-

- Light and sound sensitivity

-Throbbing pain usually on one side

-Pulsing sensation

-Nausea and vomiting

According to Dr Anil R, consultant neurologist, Columbia Asia hospital, Hebbal, “migraine attacks can last for anything from hours to days. The severe pain can largely interfere with the daily activities of the person. Going through a migraine attack is never easy, but getting one at workplace can be significantly torturing and tricky.”

Which is why, it is very important to manage migraine at the earliest if it strikes otherwise it can impact your work speed and performance.

Some common migraine triggers are: 

-Hormonal changes in women

-Hormonal medications

-Sensory stimuli like bright lights and sun glare

-Changes in sleep patterns

-Excessive physical exertion

-Weather changes

-Foods like aged cheeses and salty and processed foods

-Food additives including the sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG)

-Drinks including alcohol, especially wine, and too much caffeine


-Strong smells

-Skipping meals or fasting

One major concern with migraine is that it is usually seen as a minor condition by people who have not experienced the pain. If a person is hit by migraine at home, he/she can still manage to turn off the lights and lie down for sometime under the pain subsides. But you cannot do the same at work. Majority of those who suffer from migraine state that they cannot operate well enough during an attack and since the pain is invisible, it is often hard for the workmates to imagine the severity.

Below are a few tips that can help you tackle migraine if you get one at work:

*Manage your stress level: Stress has been a major trigger for migraine, and a hectic day combined with deadlines, peer pressure, and work load, can leads to a migraine attack. In such a scenario, it is advised to speak to your manager and make them aware about your condition. Carrying a note from your doctor will also help.

Be prepared: You must always have a plan ready in case you experience headache at work or during your commute. It is essential to take breaks through the day to meditate and relax your mind and enjoy some fresh air.

Lower the triggers: Whenever you experience migraine pain, try to dim the lights, lessen the noise and get away from strong smells, if possible.

Reduce eyestrain: In such a scenario, try to dim down the brightness of your computer screen. Put away your mobile phone for some time.

Find a corner to relax: Locate a room where you can lie down or rest for a bit in dark until the migraine subsides.

Have a supportive friend by your side: It is always advised to have a friend or a supportive co-worker who can help when migraine hits you.

Keep an anti-migraine kit: You know your needs the best. Keep an anti-migraine kit handy at work containing pain-relievers, anti-nausea tablets, cold pack and whatever else helps you manage your migraine.

Stock up on snacks: Make sure water and some healthy snacks are always within your reach to avoid dehydration and hunger. Keep your protein and sugar levels steady through the day.

Taking small steps can make a huge difference if you are ever hit by a migraine attack. So make sure you are well informed about your body, your symptoms, triggers and pacifiers. -UNB