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Isn’t Migraine Just A Bad Headache?

It’s important to understand that migraine is not “just a bad headache.” Migraine is a chronic, recurrent, and often debilitating medical condition6 that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. Migraine attacks:

  • Are characterized by throbbing pain, ranging from mild to severe, usually felt on one side of the head.7
  • Last at least four hours, and can last up to 72 hours.7
  • Affect three times more women than men.1
  • Disrupt family time and cause sufferers to cancel leisure activities.2

In addition:

  • About two-thirds of migraineurs experience a “prodrome,” or pre-headache phase, a few hours or days before the full onset of an attack.6
  • Symptoms include fatigue, drowsiness, mood change, food cravings, thirst and extreme sensitivity to light, sound and even certain odors.6
  • About 20 percent of migraineurs experience the next phase — the “aura” — which consists of temporary neurologic disturbances, including blind spots, flashing spots or streams of light, tingling, or weakness in the face and hands and difficulty concentrating.6 These symptoms occur 10 to 60 minutes before an attack, but they are not always followed by the onset of headache.6
  • With the headache comes one or more other symptoms-nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heightened sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, tenderness of the face and scalp and difficulty concentrating.6
  • As the headache diminishes, about half of migraineurs experience a “postdrome” phase, in which symptoms of fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, facial tenderness, or a feeling of general discomfort may remain for one to two days.6

Therefore, once an attack occurs, an employee may be unproductive or absent from work for up to several days.6 Employees with migraine are also likely to experience “presenteeism,” in which they’re physically at work, but unable to function.8

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