All You Need To Know About Handling Migraines At Work
According to WHO, migraine is a primary disorder that starts at puberty and often affects people aged between 35 and 45. It is commonly seen in women as a result of hormonal influences. A report by the ICMR found that more than 213 million people in India suffered from migraine in 2019 and that 60 percent of the reported cases were by women.
When an episode of migraine hits you at home, you can close the blinds, switch off the lights and hop into your bed. But the scenario is different when it comes to having a migraine at work. The primary reason people suffer from migraine and work is that the symptoms are not visible, unlike flu and cold. This lack of visibility of symptoms leads to people around the patient paying no heed to it. However, it is essential to remember that migraine is a chronic condition that can happen to anyone. When at work, you must endure the pain until it's time to head home, and that experience can be downright agonizing. This uncalled migraine at work can hinder your work life as it is almost impossible to focus and get the job done with the excruciating headache.
Top 10 Tips On How To Work With A Migraine
1. Eat Regularly
Make sure to have regular meals despite a busy workday as skipping meals can trigger migraines. Even if you are unable to stop for a meal, it's advisable to keep some filling snacks such as nuts, trail mix, or protein bars in your desk to nibble on
2. Stay Hydrated
It's important to stay hydrated during the workday. Keeping a bottle of water nearby and taking frequent sips is the simplest way to achieve this. It's recommended to consume at least eight cups of water daily, but if you're sweating, unwell, or engaging in physical activity, you may require a higher quantity.
3. Apply Blue Light Filters
The blue light emitted by electronic devices has the potential to interfere with your circadian rhythm, resulting in sleep disruption and an increased likelihood of migraines. Fortunately, there is software available that can filter out blue light on your phone, computer, or tablet. Additionally, blue-light-blocking glasses may be beneficial, particularly while working if you are experiencing migraines.
Stress triggers migraine. Managing stress at the workplace is the key factor in keeping migraine at bay. While working, take a small break, have a refreshing snack, talk, have some fun with your co-workers, divide the work among your teammates equally to reduce workload, and don't be ashamed of asking for help.
5. Consider Caffeine
There are two possible ways in which caffeine can act as a trigger for migraines: firstly, the consumption of coffee or other caffeinated drinks can initiate a migraine attack, and secondly, caffeine withdrawal is an even more common trigger for migraines. It is advisable to maintain a consistent caffeine intake to avoid triggering headaches. Abruptly increasing your caffeine consumption may lead to a headache, while abruptly stopping your caffeine intake may result in caffeine withdrawal, which can also cause a headache.
6. Soften The Illumination
Dimming the lights can be beneficial for people who experience migraines, particularly when bright or flickering fluorescent lights may trigger a migraine. To alleviate this, consider turning off overhead lighting and utilizing a desk or floor lamp that doesn't use fluorescent bulbs. If it is not possible to turn off overhead lighting, talk to a supervisor about reducing its brightness, adding a shade, or removing the bulb, at least in your workstation area. Alternatively, relocating to an area with less intense lighting may be an option. Wear glasses designed for light sensitivity, which can be especially helpful during a migraine episode at work
7. Mitigate Computer Screen Glare
Similar to overhead lighting, the glare produced by electronic devices can trigger migraines or cause light sensitivity during an episode. To reduce your exposure, consider,
- Lowering the brightness or turning down the light on your device
- Adjusting the position of your chair and computer to minimize glare
- Utilizing an anti-glare screen or hood for your computer monitor, which can be purchased online or at office supply stores
- Adding an anti-reflective coating to your glasses if you wear them to reduce glare
- Wearing light-colored sunglasses while working if you are experiencing a migraine and are bothered by the glare from your computer or overhead lighting.
8. Rest Your Eyes Periodically
To alleviate the strain on your eyes caused by prolonged computer use, the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests the "20-20-20" rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break and look at an object that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a much-needed break from the constant close-up work of staring at a computer screen and may help mitigate headaches.
9. Stay Cool
If you are susceptible to migraines triggered by heat, it may be helpful to keep a fan at your workstation and take regular breaks to step outside for fresh air. Drinking cold water or using a cool washcloth or ice pack on your forehead can also alleviate discomfort if you feel overheated and potentially prevent a migraine from developing.
10. Make Time For Physical Activity And Mindfulness Practices
To know how to work with migraine, it is essential to understand how to prevent them in the first place. Studies have shown that meditation can help manage stress and prevent or reduce migraine pain. Cultivate the habit of meditating and exercising regularly to have a stable work-life while suffering from migraine.
Only You Can Truly Know What Works Best For You
Migraine can cause excruciating pain and significantly affect your personal, professional, and social life. Addressing your issue is the primary step to make people understand how severe migraines are. Similarly, it is equally important to acknowledge when someone you know is going through the same because "when we support each other, incredible things happen."