Migraine.. aah! Only those who have undergone an episode of a migraine can understand how it actually feels. It is certainly not JUST a headache; it is also not a disease that can spread from one to another. It is, in fact, a real medical condition like asthma or diabetes.
Those who have experienced migraines know how tough it is, generally. But getting migraines at work, gosh, no one would want to be in that situation, right?
But is it possible to keep a migraine at bay while you are working? Is there anything you can do if a migraine strikes when you are at work? How much do you have to tell your boss about it, and could it hurt your career?
How to Prevent Headaches while “on the job”
If the dreaded migraine strikes when you are at work and if it is not treated quickly enough, there is a good chance that it will affect your ability to work at top speed or in certain cases, not let you work at all! Migraines are usually seen just as a minor condition by those who don't get them, those who haven’t experienced them. Try to educate those people who are important to your job, your team about a migraine because if have never gone through an episode of a migraine, they might be oblivious to what you are going through.
Minimizing the impact of work-based triggers may help keep migraines at bay. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you drink more water. It is often seen that dehydration can trigger a migraine.
- Avoid salty foods. You will have to drink even more water to balance it.
- Limit the caffeine. It is not only dehydrating and but also acts as a diuretic. Too much caffeine can be a cause for some people.
- Keep someone as a back-up. In some jobs such as teaching or working in a call centre, it can be tough to even take a quick break to the loo. In such instances, keep your manager in the loop about your condition. You can discuss with her/him about keeping someone as a back-up in case of an attack.
- Don't let yourself go hungry. Hunger is another common headache trigger. It is easy to skip snacks or lunch especially when you are under pressure to get things done at work. But that is a very bad mistake to do. Ensure you take a quick bite at lunch and also have sufficient snacks to eat at other times. Avoid snacks that are sugary; instead go for healthier fare, such as protein bars, nuts, and fruit.
- Make simple changes to your workspace. If you are in a desk job, ergonomics of the desk actually matter. Something as simple as setting your computer screen at an appropriate height/level so that you are not looking too high or too low can also help prevent headaches (remove possible trigger).
- Dim those obvious triggers – yes, we are talking about those computer screens! Does your cabin/ workplace have a lot of bright lights overhead – request for them to be dimmed. One other common trigger can be your co-worker’s strong perfume – makes your head pound eh? These are things that you can do at your end:Put an anti-glare screen protector on your computer screen. Talk to your supervisor about moving you to another cubicle/dim the lights in your cabin if you are right under direct, fluorescent lighting or near where you have the other triggers such as loud noises or strong smells.
- Control job stress. Stress is said to be the most common trigger for migraines. So be mindful of stress-related triggers at work, and find ways as to how you can minimize them as much as possible. For example, you can schedule tasks one by one all through the day instead of trying to do everything at once.
- Take a break. Go for a short walk during the day. A quick shoulder massage at a local salon during the lunch break can also help you relax. Unable to leave the office? Just step away from your desk for short periods of time, this can help cut the tension. For example, if you spend quite a lot of time at the computer, try to spend 15 minutes every two hours away from the computer.
- Take breaks – we mean short vacations! When you are under stress, it is important to give yourself time to recover. Take vacations when they are due. You are better off with mini-vacations than storing it all up, right?
This article was contributed by Hridya Anand from GetDoc.