Q:What can I do to minimize my chances of having a migraine attack at work?
A:You can avoid a migraine attack at work by reducing the number of triggers you are exposed to as much as possible. You may need to change your physical setting to alleviate muscle strain and glare. You need to avoid dietary triggers, such as dehydration and hypoglycemia, so make sure you drink enough fluids and eat regularly while you are at work. Try to avoid migraine food triggers; you may need to bring suitable food from home. Finally, you need to reduce work-related stress.

Q:How can I make the meals I eat at work more migraine-friendly?
A:Preparing food to take to work may involve extra planning. You can save time by making extra servings for dinner the night before, then take those to work for lunch. Preparing several lunches beforehand may be helpful. You can eat out for lunch; however, you will need to avoid food additives and food triggers as much as possible. Even if you do eat out for lunch, you will need to take your midmorning and afternoon snacks with you to work. Making these changes may seem overwhelming at first, but when you start to experience fewer headaches, it will be worth it.

Q:What can I do to relieve stress while I am at work?
A:Taking a break from your work for a few minutes every hour can help relieve stress. A short walk can be helpful, or you may want to learn a relaxation exercise you can do at your desk. If necessary, discuss with your employer your need to take a short break and have your snack. You can explain that by preventing a migraine attack you will be more productive and avoid lost work time.

Q:I am concerned about my employer’s and coworkers’ reactions if I tell them I have migraine. What if they think I do not measure up to the pressures of my job?
A:Unfortunately, many people do have the belief that people who have migraine are somehow weak and cannot measure up to the pressures of life. This idea could not be further from the truth. Most people with migraine are hardworking, loyal employees who care greatly about their job performance. Educating employers and coworkers may require tact and time. When presenting your situation, approach the issue from their point of view, not yours. You need to demonstrate to them how your health will benefit your workplace and your employer.

Q:What can I do to reduce or eliminate work-related stress?
A:The first step in reducing work-related stress is to leave work at your workplace. Bringing work home with you creates stress. If you are unable to complete your assigned work, then you may need to discuss your workload with your employer. Difficulties with coworkers can be another source of stress in the workplace. You need to address any problems that are creating strife at work. Strained work relationships will affect your productivity and make you more vulnerable to migraine attacks.

Q:How do I deal with time off work because of my migraine?
A:Missing work for medical care or a migraine attack is inevitable. You can discuss your need to be away from work with your employer. Familiarize yourself with the office policies on sick leave or personal time. You can explain to your employer that, with time and if properly treated, migraine can be easily controlled. Explain that by getting appropriate treatment, you will spend more time working even if you have a migraine attack and that it will also reduce the number of work days lost.

Myth or truth?


“Migraine attacks are inevitable during vacations because of stress”


Vacations can be very stressful: you are in a different environment, dealing with new people, and often spending more money than usual and trying new activities. However, there are ways to reduce vacation stress and minimize the threat of an attack. The key is to do less, not more. The best thing about a vacation is rest; take advantage of this time to relax and let your brain make serotonin, not waste it.

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