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What to do if your migraine interferes with your career


Migraine is a type of recurring headache that usually comes with nausea, dizziness, visual disturbances, light sensitivity, and difficulty concentrating and thinking. The pain is described as throbbing or pulsing that usually happens on one side of the head and can last for several hours to a few days. In this article we will discuss what to do if your migraine interferes with your career.

What to do if your migraine interferes with your career

It can become so painful that you just want to lie down until the worst of it is over. But what if it happens at work, where you can’t just sleep it off? What could you do when it does strike during working hours?

Foremost, a migraine relief treatment plan can help lessen the frequency of your migraine attacks. It may also help reduce the pain to a manageable level. However, you may not always be successful in curbing the pain. So, what can you do to ensure that your condition does not interfere with your job?

Preventing migraine in your workplace

Here are some ways on how to avoid migraines at work:

  1. Keep yourself hydrated. One of the many triggers of migraines is dehydration.
  2. Know your triggers. Know what triggers your migraine, such as foods, activities, bright lights, and other factors, so you can avoid them as much as possible.
  3. Limit caffeine. Caffeine can trigger migraines for some people. It also acts as a diuretic, so it is very dehydrating.
  4. Don’t skip meals. Take care of your health. Never skip your meals at work, even when you are busy or under pressure to meet deadlines. When your migraine starts, you’ll be less likely to get things done. However, do avoid sugary and salty foods.
  5. Change your environment. Simple changes in your workspace can help prevent headaches. For example, if the glare of your computer screen triggers your migraine, you can put an anti-glare screen on it. Likewise, you can ask to move to another space if your current one is too bright or is right beside your other triggers, such as loud noises and strong smells.
  6. Stress management. It’s not always possible to avoid stress, especially at work. But you can try stress management techniques like yoga and meditation.
  7. Take a break. A short walk, receiving a shoulder massage and a quick manicure at a local salon during lunch break or getting some fresh air and breathing deeply are all excellent ways to help you relax.
  8. Plan ahead. Always keep medicine or a wearable migraine relief device with you at all times, especially when traveling.
  9. Go for a regular check-up. Your doctor can help develop a migraine treatment plan that is just right for you and your body. She or he can help monitor your condition, so never miss your check-ups!

Disclosing your migraines to your employer

What to do if your migraine interferes with your career

Like most employees, you want to keep your personal life and work separate, so you’re most likely reluctant to talk about your condition to your co-workers and your boss.

But when your migraine attacks become unbearable or too frequent, maybe it is time to talk to your manager, so that you can together find a solution that is pre-approved. After all, upper management won’t be able to help you or provide the support you need if they don’t know the problem. Formally disclosing your condition to your boss means this information will be added on your personnel profile—in case there are future changes to management.

Knowing your disability rights

Employers with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against any of their employees with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Disability is defined by the ADA as having a mental or physical health condition that significantly limits a person’s ability to work, care for themselves, think, concentrate, communicate, and perform manual tasks.

Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against people with such disabilities from any employment activity. This includes recruitment, onboarding, promotions, job assignments, benefits, leave, pay, and firing. Likewise, employers must provide reasonable accommodation to their employees, which allows individuals with migraines to take time off work, so they can cope with their headaches.

However, do take note that not all migraines are immediately classified as a disability. For the condition to be considered a disability, you will need to show proof that it’s severe enough to limit your ability to perform your job in your work environment.


Frequent and severe migraines can significantly affect your work. Even with a supportive employer, you may still face many difficulties at work because of your migraine episodes. You will definitely need an actionable plan to manage your condition. Finding a good migraine relief treatment is one of the best ways to keep your condition under control. Your doctor can also help you with that process, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your medical provider.

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