Migraines are severe disabling headaches that occur due to changes or problems in the thalamic system – the system that receives and sends sensory signals. In the case of women, migraines also stem from hormonal changes. Which is why women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although a large majority of migraine sufferers go undiagnosed and undertreated, migraine headaches have been classified as one of the top ten causes of disability among all neurological disorders.
Migraines can be genetic, with more than one family member displaying symptoms of the disease. A migraine headache can last anywhere between 4 to 72 hours, and can be identified as one of the following types:
Although the occurrence of migraine headaches is common in children approaching puberty, in youth, and in older adults, the illness generally peaks between the ages of 25 and 55. This forms a majority of the employed or self-employed workforce. Therefore, symptoms of a migraine, such as a severe, throbbing pain on one or on both sides of the head, nausea due to bright light-sensitivity, or general irritability due to a combination of all of these factors, can prove to have a negative impact on workplace productivity.
Following is a list of common migraine triggers at the office:
Exposure to indoor environmental workplace parameters such as inadequate ventilation, or indoor air temperatures that are too low or too high can also act as triggers.
Despite being present at the workplace, an employee suffering from a migraine may experience a lack of concentration, fatigue, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in one or both ears), anxiety or depression, and an inability to work long hours, thereby impacting their productivity.
Migraine attacks can be episodic, where a person experiences 0 to 15 headaches a month, or chronic, with 15 or more days of headaches a month.
Migraines can be effectively treated with the help of the right medication. Consult your doctor on the best course of action. At the workplace, it is advisable to increase awareness of the illness and take the following precautions:
Supplements like magnesium can help ease migraine auras, and in the case of women, it can help ease a migraine that is connected to menstruation or period pains. If you are prone to migraine headaches often, it is advisable to keep a ‘trigger’ diary, which you can use to note down odours, foods, or noises that cause you to experience a migraine attack. Keep in mind that when it comes to treating migraines, early medical intervention is crucial. Success rates for treatment are high when such treatment is started early.