Workplace through the migraine lenses

When you hear a word “migraine” you probably think of a really bad headache,
which can be easily managed by using an over-the-counter pain killer. I’m sure you
have heard many people around suffering from this terrible form of headache, but
the truth is – migraine is much more than a bad headache. It is considered as a
neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms, such as:
face numbness or tingling, sensitivity to light or/and sound, dizziness and feeling of
imbalance, difficulty concentrating and/or walking, nausea, or even loss of sight in
one eye in case of migraine with aura.


Migraine is more common in women, affecting 1 in 5, and 1 in 15 men, that’s about
a whooping 1 billion people worldwide! With all of this said, it’s very likely that some
of your colleagues or employees are struggling with migraine. Usually, people will
tend to keep this to themselves as they learn some coping mechanisms, but we feel
it Is very important to build a team where any problem can be discussed, either job
related or not. If an employee raises this question and wants to talk openly about
their struggles with migraine and how it affects their productivity or any other
aspect at work – make sure to listen to try to understand.


How can the company support people with any sort of health problem?
In case of migraine, this topic became very much talked about in the recent years.
There is also a dedicated topic in the Migraine World Summit, a leading event where
doctors, specialists, researchers, psychologists and advocates talk about the most
important topics around migraine, and how it affects daily lives. One of these topics
is how can a workplace support people dealing with any type of migraine.
Employers should stop treating people with any chronic health problem as a
disadvantage, because we are very strong and determined individuals who, in most
cases, are highly motivated and very well organized, since a lot of us have strict
routines and schedules.


Now, here are some tips for employers and fellow migraineurs, from someone who
has been struggling with vestibular migraine for the past 15 years and has a career
which is “computer bound”:


– Don’t be afraid to be vocal about this disease. People won’t know how we are
feeling and what we need unless we share our experience and what could
trigger our attacks;

– If you are working from the office, and of course depending on your
profession, ask if you could use a desk which isn’t in the most busy
environment, maybe somewhere more secluded so you could find some
peace and quiet during the day;

– Always have some snack by your hand – this can be a life savior;

– Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and also an orange
juice or any type of drink that makes you feel refreshed;

– The most important one is – make regular breaks while working on the
computer. Eye strain and blue light from the monitor can easily cause an
attack that can linger for days. A lot of people are recommending migraine
glasses, but I personally haven’t tried them so I can’t give my honest advice.

– Don’t bend your neck while working on the computer – if done for more
prolonged time, for me, usually ends up in a horrible attack. This is where a
good ergonomic chair is a must! Most IT and bigger companies in other
domains, have these chairs available for their employees, but in case your
company doesn’t – I would recommend that you ask for one. Any company
should take care of their employees’ wellbeing on the job and also in the
home office environment. Some of them are letting you bring the chair from
the office while working remotely.

– Make short walk breaks – if it’s possible, try to stretch your legs every 45
minutes to an hour. Not only does this help with your blood circulation, but
for people with vestibular migraines can help with staying balanced. Go out
on the balcony, look into the distance, shut down your thoughts for 5
minutes. This can recharge your mental and physical batteries!

– Avoid very stiff headphones – prolonged calls can be very triggering for most
people with migraines. If this is a case for you, try using smaller and looser
headphones, or if possible, use the audio/mic from the laptop.

There are plenty of more coping mechanisms, but the list above is just a starter
pack for working behind a monitor. We believe that bringing more awareness about
migraine and how it affects our daily lives, can help both employers and employees
to find a good way of making the job less stressful and a working environment more
open to people with any kind of physical disadvantage or disability. MiTale is always
trying to be understanding and inclusive of individual needs, being that professional
or personal goals, orientations, or health conditions. Let us know if you have useful
tips for dealing with migraine in the workplace and if you have ever experienced
any type of discrimination around your physical condition. Stay safe!

Author: Milica Bulatovic

The most important one is – make regular breaks while working on the
computer. Eye strain and blue light from the monitor can easily cause an
attack that can linger for days. A lot of people are recommending migraine
glasses, but I personally haven’t tried them so I can’t give my honest advice.
Don’t bend your neck while working on the computer – if done for more
prolonged time, for me, usually ends up in a horrible attack. This is where a
good ergonomic chair is a must! Most IT and bigger companies in other
domains, have these chairs available for their employees, but in case your
company doesn’t – I would recommend that you ask for one. Any company
should take care of their employees’ wellbeing on the job and also in the
home office environment. Some of them are letting you bring the chair from
the office while working remotely.
Make short walk breaks – if it’s possible, try to stretch your legs every 45
minutes to an hour. Not only does this help with your blood circulation, but
for people with vestibular migraines can help with staying balanced. Go out
on the balcony, look into the distance, shut down your thoughts for 5
minutes. This can recharge your mental and physical batteries!
Avoid very stiff headphones – prolonged calls can be very triggering for most
people with migraines. If this is a case for you, try using smaller and looser
headphones, or if possible, use the audio/mic from the laptop.
There are plenty of more coping mechanisms, but the list above is just a starter
pack for working behind a monitor. We believe that bringing more awareness about
migraine and how it affects our daily lives, can help both employers and employees
to find a good way of making the job less stressful and a working environment more
open to people with any kind of physical disadvantage or disability. MiTale is always
trying to be understanding and inclusive of individual needs, being that professional
or personal goals, orientations, or health conditions. Let us know if you have useful
tips for dealing with migraine in the workplace and if you have ever experienced
any type of discrimination around your physical condition. Stay safe!

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