8 Ways To Cope With Migraines At Work

Tired of being held back by migraines at work? If you’re tired of dealing with migraines, you’re probably ready to try anything that can help bring you some relief. Here are some ways that you can prevent and manage migraine attacks in the workplace.

By URLife Team
23 Dec 2022

Migraines are a widespread medical condition affecting up to 14% of people worldwide. Therefore, it is crucial to understand if your headaches might be migraines and not just regular headaches, as the treatment for each is different. Many people who suffer from migraines find it challenging to manage their work and social lives but with the right help and resources, dealing with migraines can be easy.


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Triggers For Migraine

Migraines can be the worst. That throbbing pain in your head, the aching all over your body, and that bothersome noise sensitivity can force you to retreat from the world until it's gone. But what causes migraines? There is no definitive answer yet but doctors attribute these painful headaches to brain activity that can put our hormones, chemical, nerve-signals and blood flow into a tizzy. There are several common triggers that have been identified.

One of the most common triggers for migraines is changes in hormones. For women, these changes often happen during puberty or menopause, but they can also occur if you start taking birth control or begin hormone replacement therapy. Another trigger is physical and mental stress, which can cause an influx of hormones that may lead to a migraine.


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Other Common Triggers Include

1. Emotional Triggers:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Tension
  • Excitement
  • Shock


2. Physical Triggers:

  • Faulty posture
  • Shoulder or neck tension
  • Low blood sugar
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Time zone difference
  • Poor quality sleep


3. Food-related Triggers:

  • Skipped, delayed, or inconsistent meals
  • Caffeine-containing beverages, such as tea and coffee
  • Foods like chocolate and citrus fruit
  • Foods containing the substance tyramine


4. Environmental Triggers:

  • Flashing lights
  • Television or computer screens that are flickering
  • Smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Loud sounds
  • Climate changes, such as variations in humidity or shallow temperatures
  • Strong odours

Finally, even medications like sleeping and birth control pills can trigger the severe pain of migraines.


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Tips To Deal With Migraine At Work

1. Learning To Track And Manage Your Triggers

Migraines can be a real challenge when you're at work. Often the stress of getting your job done and meeting deadlines, can trigger a headache and other symptoms. It's important for those who experience migraines to learn how to manage their triggers in order to reduce the possibility and the intensity of a migraine at work.

To avoid triggering a stress-related migraine, set achievable goals for yourself each day and stick to them. It's also essential that you take frequent breaks throughout the workday so that your body has time to relax and recharge. Breaks away from your workstation will also help you cut screentime, another trigger for migraines. Additionally, practise deep breathing exercises whenever possible, as this helps alleviate stress levels in the body. Try box breathing to de-stress in four minutes.

For women dealing with menstrual migraines, understanding which hormones may trigger an attack can be helpful in avoiding them as much as possible.


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2. Don't Suffer In Silence: Tell Your Employer

When it comes to migraine headaches, the best way to deal with them at work is to tell your employer. Many people feel embarrassed or unsure of how their boss will react when they disclose a migraine diagnosis, but this should not stop one from getting the help and support they need.

As mentioned earlier, the first step is to educate yourself about your condition and be aware of the triggers for migraines so that you can better explain what’s happening when it does happen. Share with your employer information about how migraines can impact productivity and focus. Explain what kind of accommodations might help make your work environment more manageable, such as flexible hours or a break from specific tasks that may trigger an episode.

Your employer may also have resources available through employee assistance programs that can help you manage stress or provide additional tips on reducing migraines while working in the office space.


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3. Create A Pattern Of Taking Needed Breaks

One of the most important steps migraineurs can take is creating a pattern of taking needed breaks throughout the day. During these times, focus on activities that reduce stress levels and help you relax like going for a short walk outside or listening to calming music (with headphones if necessary). When it’s time to get back to work, make sure you drink plenty of water and try your best not to overexert yourself,both physically and mentally.


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4. Avoid Working In Harsh Lights

Bright fluorescent lighting or direct sunlight can be a nightmare for someone with a migraine. Exposure to these kinds of lighting conditions can trigger a headache or even an episode of vertigo. So it's worth ensuring you're in the kindest light environment possible while working.

If your office has bright overhead lights, consider investing in a desk lamp emitting softer light, such as natural light bulbs or LED lamps. Alternatively, pull down blinds on windows to lessen the amount of direct sunlight coming into your workspace and keep it comfortable for yourself when you're feeling particularly sensitive to light and sound stimulation.


5. Managing Migraine At Work

When you suffer from migraine at work, it can be tough to manage and carry out your duties. Thankfully, seeking help from your coworkers can help you to feel better in such times.

Firstly, having someone that you trust and are comfortable with around while experiencing a migraine episode can provide much-needed emotional and physical support. That person could remind you of any medications or treatments that might help ease your symptoms as well as provide moral support during tough times. In addition, even something as small as having another person nearby can make the migraine feel less isolating and overwhelming.


6. Make Lifestyle Changes

Working with migraines can be a difficult experience, but there are lifestyle changes you can make to help manage them. Eating healthy and avoiding food triggers is important in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. It’s important to pay attention to your diet and note what foods may trigger migraines, and try to avoid them as much as possible. Also, including plenty of water into your daily routine is essential for keeping hydrated; this will help reduce the intensity of headaches if they do occur.

Exercise has long been known to be beneficial for overall physical health, but also in reducing migraines. Participating in regular activities, such as walking or running, helps reduce stress and tension that may lead to an attack. Meditating is another way to relax the body and mind, which can serve as an effective preventative measure against episodes of migraine pain.


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7. Medication For Migraines

Trying to figure out how to get rid of a migraine at work? Medication is one of the most common treatments for migraines and often works best when used in combination with other techniques. Please speak to your doctor about the right prescription for you. It is wise to refrain from self-medication.

Preventative medications are taken on a regular basis in order to avoid future migraines; these drugs work by blocking nerve pathways in the brain that cause migraines. Abortive medications are taken once an attack has begun; they work by narrowing blood vessels around the head and neck, which helps alleviate pain associated with migraines. Other treatments include using ice packs, sitting in a dark room, noise therapy or aromatherapy; each technique provides relief for different people depending on which works better for them.


8. Other Methods That Can Help

We all know migraines can be one of the worst pains to deal with. While traditional medicine can help to reduce inflammation and pain, it is not always effective in tackling the root cause of a migraine. Fortunately, there are some alternative treatments available that could help you manage your migraines and find relief from this condition.

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health practice that uses natural remedies to treat physical ailments and improve overall health. Ayurvedic treatments for migraines include dietary changes, massage therapies, herbal supplements, yoga, and pranayama (breathwork). Home remedies such as cold compresses or hot towels placed on your forehead or neck may also relieve migraine symptoms.

Massage therapy is another way of relieving tension in the head and neck muscles which may contribute to headaches. Acupuncture may also help improve blood circulation in the head area as well as reduce stress levels that are known triggers for migraines. Ear seeds have also become a popular choice for controlling migraine symptoms as they work by stimulating points on the ear related to headache pain.


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Migraines at work can be very disruptive, but they don't have to be. By learning more about migraine conditions and how to deal with them effectively, individuals can lead healthier lives in order to maintain their productivity at work. This includes being aware of triggers that may cause headaches or migraines and avoiding them when possible. Additionally, recognising warning signs early on helps prevent migraines from getting out of control. Don't let migraines get the best of you, take charge of your health by following the above tips.


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