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Migraines in the Workplace – More Than Just a Poor Excuse for a Sick Day

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migraine treatmentOften seen as a glorified headache, the migraine is deemed to be a poor excuse for a sick day and an easy way out for someone who wants to get out of work, but as chronic sufferers will tell you, the condition can be particularly debilitating with its symptoms making even everyday tasks difficult.

What exactly is a migraine?

Whilst symptoms vary from person to person, a migraine is generally classed as a severe headache with throbbing pain to the front or side of the head. More common in women than men, migraines typically begin in early adulthood and can strike occasionally or more frequently depending on their type. Migraines are associated with a range of additional symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, body temperature fluctuations, excessive perspiration, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

In more severe cases, migraine sufferers have experienced paralysis, slurred speech, fever, seizures, mental confusion and double vision with the condition itself pointing to more serious ailments such as meningitis.

What should employees know?

Whether your migraines are days, months or years apart, chances are you won’t want to let them get in the way of your career ambitions. But as an employee it is your responsibility to declare migraines as an existing medical condition on your application form.

Unfortunately, regular sufferers may require considerable time off work to handle the debilitating symptoms of migraines. For that reason, it is imperative that you fully disclose the nature of your condition to avoid the risk of disciplinary procedures associated with extended absences.

There are various steps you can take to reduce the frequency of migraines and limit the effects of symptoms in and around the workplace. Under Health and Safety guidelines, your employer should also make reasonable adjustments to assist you in your endeavours, no matter how big or small the organisation.

Handling migraines

Understanding the symptoms and any possible triggers associated with your condition is the first and most important step to finding an effective solution for the reduction of migraines, a process that can take many sufferers some time. There is no cure for migraines, but keeping a diary can help determine what prompts episodes, what factors make symptoms better to manage or more difficult, and what, if any, warning signs are present.

Every migraine sufferer is different, but shortly before a migraine you may find that you experience unusual cravings, heightened senses, increased irritability, mental confusion or speech difficulties. There are also certain triggers associated with the onset of a migraine, with the consumption of sugary snacks, dairy products and caffeinated drinks a common cause. Being exposed to strong scents and staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time without a break can also lead to migraines.

Drinking lots of water and opting for snacks that stabilise blood sugar levels can stop migraines in their tracks. Similarly, investing in an anti-glare filter for your computer, taking regular breaks, getting some fresh air, avoiding bright sunlight and calling on a few relaxing, deep breathing exercises can also offer light relief. Remember you don’t have to suffer in silence, medical assistance is available via both your GP and qualified pharmacists.

If you are looking for migraine treatment to help you handle your condition, Express Pharmacy has a range of migraine medications, available for home delivery the very next day.