When Migraines Strike at Work
Suffering from a migraine is bad enough in the comfort of your own home where you can at least turn off the lights and lie down in a quiet room. But at work it is a whole different story that comes with a whole set of complications and concerns, including the possible effect on your career. To those that have never suffered from migraines, it is difficult to fully comprehend their disabling potential. So, what should you do if your migraines are interfering with your work? Do you pretend you have an emergency and go home, try to work through it, talk to your boss?
Try Prevention First
Of course, the best way to deal with migraines at work is to avoid them. Many migraine sufferers are aware of their migraine triggers and can usually avoid them. If you are not sure what exactly sets off your migraines, start by keeping a headache diary that you can review later to look for trends and possible triggers. A visit to the doctor may be in order. At Miami Headache Institute we can help you find what your particular migraine triggers may be. The following are headache and migraine triggers common at many workplaces. Try to be aware of their possible affects on you.
- Caffeine – A workplace staple and common migraine trigger.
- Dehydration – Sometimes we forget to stay hydrated when we are busy.
- Poor diet – Neglecting to eat or eating too much salty fast food can both be migraine triggers.
- Stress – Present in most jobs, excessive stress is not good for anyone and can trigger migraines in some.
- Workplace setup – From computer screen glare to the fluorescents bulbs overhead, the height of your computer monitor, the back support from your chair and more: take a close look at the setup of your workspace for possible migraine triggers.
If a migraine does start to develop, be ready for it. Keep your migraine medication with you, but do not take anything at work that will cause drowsiness. If you can, get to a quiet room while you wait for the medication to take effect.
Come Clean with Your Boss
Ultimately, it is up to the individual whether they want to discuss their private health matters with their employer. However, if eliminating migraine triggers has not worked and your migraines are negatively impacting your work, the best advice is to disclose your condition. In some companies that will mean talking to your direct supervisor, in others you will want to approach the Human Resources department. Regardless of who you talk to, remember that how you approach this situation with your employer can mean the difference between a positive experience and a negative one. You will find that many employers will make reasonable accommodations to minimize your migraines’ impact on your ability to fulfill your duties.
FMLA and ADA
Your migraines may be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It really depends on how seriously the migraines limit your ability to do your job effectively. This is another reason to consider addressing the situation with your company’s Human Resources department. Chances are they will have an idea whether you are eligible, or, at the very least, offer you guidance and assistance in finding out. These Federal laws are designed to protect employees who must miss work due to illness or a disability.
So, the best advice is to try to be proactive in avoiding migraines at work and let your boss know what you are going through. At Miami Headache Institute, our doctors are migraine experts and can help you get your migraines under control. Contact us today to set up your first consultation.