If you are an employer who has ever had a worker suffering from migraines, you know that the condition can affect both productivity on the job as well as the number of days missed. What are some things that you as a boss need to know in order to balance your responsibility as a supervisor with being understanding of your employee’s medical condition? Here is a guide to migraines taken from an employer’s point of view.
The Toll of Chronic Migraines
The first thing that is important to understand is that migraines can have varying symptoms from patient to patient. If you have one worker who pushes through the day and is still productive but another that always calls in sick on migraine days, remember that the severity of a migraine may vary greatly. The headaches themselves can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting – This can be particularly tough to deal with at work if a person is seated far from the bathroom.
- Sensitivity to lights, sounds, and strong smells – This can cause complications at work if there is bright lighting in the office, the sounds of typing (or heavy machinery, etc.) coming from every direction, or fellow workers who wear strong perfumes/colognes.
- Vertigo or dizziness – This may make it more difficult to carry out jobs that require standing.
- Neck pain – This can be enhanced by jobs requiring sitting or lifting.
While these are some of the most common migraine symptoms, it is not a comprehensive list. Also, chronic migraine sufferers are at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders.
The Healthcare Burden on Your Employee
One of the biggest things that affect migraine sufferers is the financial burden of healthcare. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, if even one family member gets migraines, the household’s medical expenses increase by an average of 70%. Quality of care also suffers when a person does not have access to the right healthcare professionals and specialists in-network. This makes good health coverage vital for migraine sufferers.
How Migraines Affect Productivity and Attendance at Work
The same research indicates that American employers lose $13 billion per year as a result of 113 million missed work days by migraine patients. Even when a migraine sufferer can make it to the office, productivity may suffer. One study found the number of lost work hours per attack to be 8.2 hours. That means even a person who only gets one migraine per month loses about 12 work days per year. Most patients experience several migraines per month, and about 4 million people suffer from chronic migraines meaning that migraines are present more than 15 days per month.
How to Help an Employee with Migraines
If you have a good worker who happens to have migraines, how can you provide the support he or she needs to be able to continue working for your company? Here are a few suggestions:
- Provide good healthcare options and encourage migraine patients to pay extra for the best plan. This will help ensure the employee gets the best care at the least overall expense.
- Provide an alternate work environment on migraine days to help employees miss less work. If bright lights, the sound of other workers, and strong smells make the employee’s migraines worse, you may be able to increase productivity by providing a fragrance-free, quiet, and dark work space at the office. Or you may be able to offer the employee a means to work from home on certain days when an attack hits.
- Be understanding. Migraine patients function best when they know they are understood. If you give the impression that migraines are not a real health problem or that the employee should be able to just press through it, that will only add to stress levels – and stress always makes migraines worse.
- Consider a job change. Before letting a hard-working employee go, consider moving him or her to a less stressful position that may result in fewer migraine episodes.
These are just a few ideas of ways to deal with having employees with migraines. Since about 12% of adults get migraines, you are likely to face this situation over and over again in the future even if you have not had to do so already.
A Natural and Cost-Effective Form of Migraine Care
It is not your job as an employer to help your workers decide on healthcare options. However, you may on occasion want to make recommendations. If an employee is seeking natural and long-lasting relief, upper cervical chiropractic care may be the right choice. How does it work?
Upper cervical chiropractors focus on the atlas (C1) – the top bone in the spine. Precise measurements are taking using diagnostic imaging, and very gentle adjustments are used to correct even the slightest of misalignments. A misaligned atlas can result in:
- Pressure on the brainstem
- Inhibited cerebrospinal fluid drainage
- Reduced blood flow to certain parts of the brain
All of these factors can lead to migraines. Thus, correcting the issue has helped many to get relief, even from chronic migraines and other headache conditions. If a person is suffering from migraines, especially if he or she also experiences neck pain and/or has a history of head or neck trauma, that makes a person a prime candidate for receiving benefits from upper cervical chiropractic care. To learn more, have the patient contact an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner in your area.