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4 Tips for Chronic Migraine Sufferers Starting a New Job

Posted by Migraine Relief Center on Jul 4, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Patients who live with migraine conditions recently got to see a part of themselves in the Lifetime cable television network. “True Tori” is a reality television series that features the painful lives of actress Tori Spelling and her husband Dean McDermott. These two actors are no strangers to reality television, but this particular Lifetime series shows them being just as vulnerable as any other married couple. Spelling, for example, is afraid that she may suffer a debilitating migraine episode when her husband is not around.


In the past, Spelling has mentioned that her migraines have had a negative impact on her acting career, often interrupting her at work. Her last migraine episode landed her in the hospital for a few days, and it came at a time when she was working on “True Tori” and suffering marital strife as well. As just about all migraine patients know, stress is the number one trigger of headache episodes, which can be a major problem when starting a new job.

There are four major considerations that chronic migraine sufferers should keep in mind when starting a new job:

Each of the factors above can be properly managed by patients who suffer from migraine conditions as they begin a new period of employment. The recommendations below can make it easier on migraine patients who are starting new jobs.

1) Disclosing Migraine Conditions at Work

Although the American with Disabilities (ADA) does not particularly address migraines, employers should provide reasonable accommodations to workers who suffer from chronic and debilitating headaches. One of the most important legal factors of the ADA is that employees must let their employers know about their conditions. Supervisors have a right to know when health issues may interfere in the workplace, and they are often willing to accommodate their employees as much as possible, but only if they are aware of the health conditions.

2) Managing Environmental Triggers

Once the migraine condition has been properly disclosed, to new employers, migraine patients should inquire about accommodations that may reduce migraine triggers. Some examples would include:
  • Wearing dark eyeglasses
  • Ergonomic chairs
  • Placing a special screen protector on a computer workstation
  • Wearing noise-canceling headphones

3) Access to Medication

Patients who suffer from chronic migraine conditions are often put on preventative drug therapy, which may involve taking certain medications during work hours. Medications with strong side effects of nausea and vertigo may affect work performance; to this effect, patients should check with their doctors about changing the dosage or frequency of treatments. Reactive medications, that help patients during the actual headache phase of their migraine episodes, may cause workers to need to take a few hours off their shifts to recover.

4) Access to Treatment

At some point after starting a new job, chronic migraine patients should discuss with their supervisors and coworkers what to do in case a debilitating migraine attack sets in. This means providing people at work with important telephone numbers of physicians, spouses, relatives and close friends who may be able to help in case of a major episode.

*Image courtesy of

patient guide to surgery

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