If you’re a migraine sufferer, chances are you’ve experienced a migraine at work; and probably at the most inopportune time: right before a big presentation, during an important one-on-one with your boss, or early in the morning with a jam-packed day. While the migraines can be debilitating, they’re also frustrating – and you’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed. More than 157 million workdays are lost each year in the US to migraine, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
So, what can you do to minimize the chances of getting a migraine at work? The key may be to mind your triggers.
Many migraineurs say overhead lighting is a big trigger. Others tell us workplace perfumes, colognes, and air fresheners are to blame. Every headache is different and what triggers one may remedy another, or another person’s, which makes bulk solutions difficult to come by. Most migraine sufferers; however, will agree that changes in sleep and mealtimes will usually cue a throbbing head.
At work, many things are outside one’s control but not everything.
Here are five things you can do to help prevent a migraine:
Manage the light: You may not be able to switch your seating arrangement but maybe you can dim the lights, or bring a desk lamp, or swap a lightbulb in an existing lamp. If you’re near a window, see if you can lower the blinds or swivel your seat so the natural light is to your side – or better yet — behind you, instead of straight on.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration is a common migraine trigger but if you stay hydrated, you can likely avoid a migraine. Bring your own cup or water bottle and refill it often during the day. Limit your amount of caffeine. A recent study showed that three cups of a caffeinated beverage, like coffee, could cause an aching head. Along this same line of thought, avoid salty foods as they can also dehydrate you.
Eat lunch: Eat your lunch every day – and if possible, eat it at the same time every day. Pack some easy-to-sneak snacks in case a meeting runs over. Also considering keeping some healthy options stashed in a desk drawer to prevent hunger pains and possibly eating something else in a preventive panic without the available time to check the ingredients for food triggers.
Map your route: Make note of colleagues who wear strongly scented perfumes or colognes and find alternate ways to navigate the office. It may not be possible to avoid scents that trigger your migraine but you can minimize your exposure.
Use Cefaly: Whether you’re on a conference call or your lunch break, grab your Cefaly for a quick 20-minute PREVENT session (or an hour-long ACUTE session and find relief fast). The Cefaly device will help desensitize the Trigeminal nerve, which is considered the pain center for migraine. Over time, you’ll be able to reduce your migraine days. In the meantime, Cefaly can could be your go-to treatment on days where you cannot afford the common side effects typical of some migraine medications. This way, when your session is over, you can get back to work. In fact, many people can continue to work throughout their session too.