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How to Handle Migraine at Work

People with chronic migraines often learn how to live with their condition, making lifestyle changes and forming management plans to decrease the effect of migraines on their life. But sometimes, these measures aren’t enough to keep migraines at bay. And when you experience them at work, it can very well affect your productivity, which can, in turn, decrease your performance.

In worst cases, they can even be debilitating enough that you won’t be able to do anything else until it passes. This can cause you to miss deadlines, sit out important meetings, miss work, and put a strain on your relationships with co-workers.

To minimize the chances of getting a migraine at work, here are some of the best ways to avoid one:

Go to a chiropractor. Experienced chiropractic physicians ensure the proper alignment of your spine to restore proper communication within your nervous system. A spine adjustment can also reduce muscle tension, which is a common cause of migraines.

Avoid your triggers. By now, you probably already know what your triggers are. Whether it’s bright lights, strong odors, sun glare, loud sounds, or all of the above, put some effort into avoiding them so that they don’t trigger a migraine at work.

Avoiding triggers may require some polite conversations with your supervisor or co-workers. For instance, if the bright overhead lights trigger your migraines, ask your boss to turn down the lights in your particular area or put your desk in a darker place. Or if your co-worker’s strong perfume is a trigger, respectfully ask them to use less (or if possible, have your supervisor assign you to a different work area altogether).

Pay attention to what you eat. Certain foods and drinks such as red wine, sweeteners, and cheese can trigger headaches. Avoid them as much as possible, especially at work. Moreover, avoid skipping meals and drink enough water to prevent hunger or dehydration from triggering your condition.

Avoid stress. Stress is difficult and sometimes impossible to avoid while at work. For many of us, work is our main source of stress in the first place. However, it is important that you learn how to manage your stress to better manage your migraines in the long run. Avoid unnecessary causes of stress, such as office gossip or work issues that are none of your concern. If you are already stressed, do breathing exercises, step away from your desk for a while, or find other ways to relieve your stress.

What to do when you get a migraine at work

Despite all the preventive measures mentioned above, they may not be effective in avoiding migraines a hundred percent of the time. And if you experience chronic migraines, you will likely find yourself having one at work. When this happens, here’s what you can do to relieve it quickly:

  • Drink caffeine. Make a beeline for the pantry or the corner coffee shop and drink some coffee (the less sugar, the better), but don’t overuse this tactic to get rid of your migraines. If you drink too much, you may have a headache from the excess caffeine intake itself.
  • Take your meds. Once you feel a migraine coming on, take your acute migraine medication as soon as possible.
  • Find a dark, quiet place. After you take your meds, find an area that is dark and quiet to rest for a while. If your migraines are bad enough that you have to do this every time one starts to form, it may be a good idea to inform your supervisor of your condition in case you need to take a break.
  • Keep an ice pack in the office fridge. Putting an ice pack against your head and neck may help relieve a migraine. Keep ice packs in the office and have something at your desk that you can use to tie the ice packs to your head, such as a scarf or a cloth headband.

What if it doesn’t go away?

If a migraine becomes unbearable, it may be time to call it quits and head home. This is also a reason why you should inform your employer ahead of time if you suffer from regular and debilitating migraines. If you can’t get home on your own, it is safest to ask for a ride from a loved one or a co-worker.

Dealing with migraines, especially at work, can sometimes feel like hell on Earth. If you suffer from regular migraines, use this information to manage your migraines better and prevent them from having a huge effect on your work performance, as well as other aspects of your life.

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