Migraine in the Workplace
Migraine in the Workplace
- Migraine is a real medical condition – just like diabetes, epilepsy or asthma
- It is not ‘just a headache’
- Migraine has been found to have a greater impact on quality of life than conditions such as heart disease and diabetes
- According to the World Health Organisation migraine is the 6th ranking cause of all disease-associated disability worldwide
- A recent study found that people rated migraine pain as worse than root-canal treatment, and many women say that childbirth is less discomforting
Despite this, migraine is still under-treated and misunderstood – especially in the workplace.
MIGRAINE AT WORK
Information for Employers/Employees/ Trade Unions:
Research by Dr Caoimhin MacMaolain, Director of Research at the Law Department, TCD: An Investigation into the Potential for Migraineurs to be protected by Employment Laws in the European Union. Please contact the MAI office if you would like to receive a copy of this paper.
Can the working environment cause a migraine?
Migraine is an episodic neurological condition. However individual attacks can be triggered by exposure to one or more ‘trigger factors’ which cause an individual’s ‘migraine threshold’ to be crossed.
For many people stress can be a trigger factor and there are many more to be found in the workplace including:
- Long periods spent in front of a computer screen
- Delayed meals or irregular eating patterns
- Poor posture at an office desk
- Lack of exercise
- Loud noise or bright lights
- Strong smells
How do I know if an employee/colleague is suffering from a migraine?
There is no test for migraine. Diagnosis depends on careful history taking – so that there is absolute proof that an individual is a migraine sufferer.
It is often described as the “hidden disease” as there are no obvious external signs of discomfort and sufferers are well between attacks. In some people attacks can strike at any time and with very little warning.
During an attack some people will:
- Appear very pale
- Be unable to concentrate or focus
- Be unable to articulate as clearly as usual or will slur their speech
Some people are more severely affected than others and unless you know a person well, these changes may not be noticeable immediately. Of course the more you understand the condition, the easier it will be to identify.
Managing migraine in the workplace
Despite the massive impact that migraine can have on job satisfaction only 50% of sufferers are receiving treatment. But migraineurs don’t need to struggle on.
Although there is no ‘cure’ for migraine, with the right information, support and treatment, the majority of migraineurs can bring their condition under control.
Medications, dietary changes, relaxation and biofeedback can reduce, or even eliminate up to 90% of attacks. Modern migraine-specific medication can be effective in up to 80% of cases.
Everybody benefits if migraine is properly managed.
Utilise the MAI Workplace Outreach Service
Invite us in to talk to you
The cost of migraine to the Irish economy is a staggering €252 million a year. This is due to a combination of workdays lost and a reduction in productivity – totalling almost four days annually. On any given day in Ireland over 13,000 people are suffering from migraine – the majority forming part of the workforce.
The Migraine Association of Ireland can help. We run a Migraine Corporate Outreach service – an educational programme on migraine management.
If you are an employer, why not take part in this service? With 92% of Irish migraineurs saying that attacks affect their performance at work, it makes sense that any employer would want to take steps to limit the affect that migraine can have on their workforce and on their business.
The aim of the service is to equip migraineurs with the tools needed to help reduce the effect of migraine on their work, and to provide the employer with training on how to create a ‘migraine-friendly’ workplace.
Almost 15% of your workforce could be migraineurs. By registering for our outreach service not only can you help this large group of employees, but you can help your business by decreasing sick days and ensuring high levels of job satisfaction.
What does an outreach event entail?
Generally we would discuss migraine management- causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, medications, etc. The aim of these presentations is to improve understanding of the condition.The day can be tailored to suit your needs although the majority of employers prefer a lunchtime event.
This might take the form of:
- A short PowerPoint presentation followed by a question and answer session.
- A migraine information stand in a common area, attended by an MAI representative.
These events are free of charge although we may ask for a contribution towards travel expenses.
For more information or to request a visit please contact the MAI on 1850-200-378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits to employees
- Increased job satisfaction
- Better health and well-being
- Better social and family life
Benefits to employers
- Increased productivity
- Less absenteeism
- Positive workplace environment
Increased understanding about migraine + improved migraine management = More content and productive workforce.