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How Can Migraine Affect My Work?

Migraine, like other chronic health conditions, takes a tremendous toll on companies across the country. An estimated $13 billion a year can be attributed to the lost work days and decreased productivity of migraine sufferers. In one three-month study, researchers asked 122 migraine sufferers with regular paid employment to keep a daily record of work days missed due to migraine, as well as their own estimation of reduced productivity on the days they actually attended work with a migraine (lost work day equivalents). Among the findings in the study population:

  • The average number of days absent due to headache was 1.1 days/person – a loss of about four workdays/year.
  • On average, self-reported job effectiveness fell 41 percent because of migraine
  • The most disabled 20 percent of sufferers accounted for 77 percent of the days absent.
  • The most disabled 40 percent experienced 75 percent of lost workday equivalents.

Not only are women more likely to get migraines than men, but they also are more likely to experience greater disability. According to a recent survey of working women by the National Headache Foundation (NHF) and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP , 90 percent of the women surveyed who get migraine headaches have attacks at work. Of these,

  • 41 percent cited workplace stress as their most common headache trigger.
  • 61 percent said their headaches become so severe they are forced to take time off from work.
  • Nearly 80 percent reported lost productivity.
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