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Articles > Coping with migraines at work

Coping with migraines at work

Provided by HealthMonitor

When Lauren, a health-magazine editor in Washington, DC, moved with her publishing company to a new building that was still partially under construction, she was assigned an airy cubicle next to a coveted floor-to-ceiling window'a placement that was designed to reward her for years of hard work. Great news, right? Wrong.

Lauren was light sensitive and suffered from occasional migraines. Her new workstation featured a desk built against the window, with the computer placed squarely in the center, the screen facing into the office. Lauren's job required her to stare at her computer screen to read small type, often for hours at a time. She squinted against the bright sunlight, unaware that the building's designers had yet to treat its windowpanes with a special anti-glare coating. And with the expensive new blinds still sitting in neat stacks in the hallway, it was only a matter of hours before a severe migraine hit.

Lauren experienced flashing lights around the periphery of her vision, followed by wavy lines that zigzagged before her, making her near-sightedness even blurrier. (These precursory symptoms describe what is known as a migraine with aura.) Twenty minutes later, a crushing pain hit her head like a sledgehammer. After quickly retreating to the ladies room, she sat in the dark until she felt well enough to move. She was forced to go home to recover.

If you're a migraine sufferer, it benefits both you and your boss to talk about preventing migraines from occurring in the workplace. Whatever your triggers'sunlight or fluorescent lighting, too much caffeine, certain types of food or alcohol, even stress'the smartest strategy is to avoid them, if at all possible, from 9 to 5. This approach saves productivity, as well as tension with your boss and office mates if you must suddenly drop a deadline to go home.
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