3 Strategies For Managing Migraines At Work

2 min read

3 Strategies For Managing Migraines At Work

Migraines at work can be a real challenge.  Here are 3 strategies that can make a difference.

1) Communicate With Your Employer About Your Condition

One of the most important things you can do is to communicate with your boss or employer about your situation. Although this can be tough, it is essential that your boss not be surprised about your migraines so you are able to take a break or leave work when required.

A recommended first step is to get a letter from your doctor about your migraines so you have documentation that your diagnosis is real and needs to be taken seriously. People who have never had a migraine can sometimes regard them as “just another headache.” Having something official from your doctor tells your employer it is a serious condition that has been diagnosed and treated.

You may also want to check to see if your company has an Employee Assistance Program where you can get professional help regarding the discussion to have with your boss and co-workers as well as any special accommodations you may need to do your job.

If your migraines occur frequently at work, look for ways you can contribute at nights or weekends, so that you demonstrate to your employer a willingness to be flexible and fair. This sends the message that you are serious about completing your work in spite of any accommodations you require.

Lastly, you may want to consider moving to a job that gives you the flexibility to work non-standard hours, or work from home. This may enable you to work more effectively around your migraines.


“Many people struggle through the debilitating pain of migraine to get the job done and because they do not want to let down their co-workers...It is possible to keep migraine under control, and the best way to do that is to see a doctor and get effective treatment."

- Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes, a headache and Migraine specialist at Vanderbilt University


2) Look For Early Symptoms and Treat Right Away

The longer you wait to do something about your migraine, the harder it can be to treat. Be on the lookout for early symptoms so that you can treat your migraine as soon as possible. Some people experience irritability, mild pain or nausea in advance of a full migraine. You may want to talk with your doctor about early signs that are linked to your type of migraine. Being proactive about early symptoms may result in less downtime and lead to fewer migraines that grow out of control.


3) Manage Stress Effectively

Stress can play a role in the frequency and magnitude of migraines. Look for ways that let you work on an “even keel.” Scheduling tasks to be accomplished one at a time, instead of working on many projects at once can be helpful.

Taking “mini vacations” spread throughout the year, versus saving it all up for a prolonged period off can help reduce stress and lead to a more enjoyable balance in your life.

Lastly, you might consider partaking in the many therapies available to relieve stress. Some traditional methods involve yoga, meditation or exercise. For many people these therapies can make a big impact.