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5 Ways to Manage a Migraine at Work

If you get frequent migraines, you will more than likely experience symptoms at work from time-to-time. Fortunately, there are ways to help, including our 5 ways to manage a migraine at work.

Woman looking at her laptop screen at work

Get Ahead of the Migraine

Know your triggers and make sure you avoid them as much as possible. If you know that light brings one on, curtail it as much as you can. Turn off overhead fluorescent lights over your work space. Instead, use a small desk light.

Lower the light and glare from your computer and wear filtering glasses to avoid the blue light from the screen. Close curtains or lower shades if that’s possible.

Keep snacks nearby to get ahead of the migraine. If you are aware being hungry can cause one, consume small amounts of healthy snacks every hour or so. Drink coffee if that helps, but don’t overdo it. Keep your medications at hand and stay well hydrated.

This may not always work, but if you can reduce the incidence, you are ahead of the game.

Have THE Talk

Don’t hide the issue from coworkers or your immediate supervisor. Have Puget Sound Neurology write a letter to your employer explaining your migraines and how they affect you. Be honest about what happens when a migraine comes on. Someone who has never experienced one doesn’t understand the symptoms.

Explain the issues and what accommodations will help you to remain at work. At the same time, be honest about why you might need to go home sometimes. Your thoroughness and honesty will forego any problems in the future. Especially be clear about scents (if that is a trigger for you), noise, and odors in general. Try to tactfully tell your coworkers what can bring on a migraine and ask for their help.

In addition, talk to Human Resources about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Maybe you can adjust your hours, your responsibilities, or work from home.

Give Your Eyes a Break

Sitting in front of a laptop or computer for hours can strain your eyes leading to a migraine. Use the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes look out in the distance at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Getting up from your work chair and taking a 20 minute break can help also.

Have a Plan

If a migraine strikes at work, have a backup plan. Maybe there is a free office where you can lie down for a bit and close all the shades. Give yourself time to get through the headache. Sometimes you can tell certain ones will only last a short time.

If you know you need to leave, have resources at the ready to take you home if you can’t drive yourself.

Reduce Stress

After your supervisor and coworkers know the situation, that should lower any stress you have about needing to go home when a particularly bad migraine strikes. No guilt, just do what you need to do to get over the headache and be ready to work again tomorrow.

The most important tip is to deal with your migraines and not be afraid to speak up.

Contact Puget Sound Neurology for an individualized treatment plan for your migraines

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