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Migraine Awareness Week 3 – 9 September 2017

04 September 2017





Bosses get thumbs down on understanding plight of one in seven


New figures released today by three charities, The Migraine Trust, Migraine Action and the National Migraine Centre, signal concerns over lack of workplace support for migraine sufferers.

In a public opinion survey, almost two thirds (64 per cent) of UK adults believe employers don’t understand very much or at all about the nature of migraine and its effects on their staff.

And one in five (21 per cent) even think health professionals do not realise the characteristics and impact of the condition on their patients, according to the YouGov poll released in Migraine Awareness Week (3-9th September).

This heightens worries on the issue, since many sufferers have complained about inadequate backing from bosses.

Each year 25 million days are lost through migraine from UK work or schools, cutting Britain’s economic size by £2.5 billion.


Nine million Britons face migraine – one in seven people.


Today’s survey reveals that 70 per cent are either unsure or do not know whether migraine can be classed as a disability. Under current legislation migraine may be classed as a disability if its severity and frequency impacts your working life.

This is despite the fact that 82 per cent of those quizzed have experienced migraine or know someone who has faced the condition.

Yet the World Health Organisation describes migraine among the most disabling illnesses around the globe. Earlier research showed that almost one in five migraine sufferers had lost a job through the condition.

Other findings from the first joint research for the three UK migraine charities show:

  • Almost half of UK adults quizzed (49 per cent) believe schools and universities fail to understand migraine’s nature and effect their students.
  • Less than half of UK adults (49 per cent) correctly thought that children can be affected by migraine.
  • Almost half (46 per cent) didn’t realise that migraine is a genetic condition.
  • While there was low awareness of less common symptoms of this complex condition, among the major symptoms 86 per cent of UK adults identified a throbbing headache, 82 per cent sensitivity to light or noise, 77 per cent nausea and 67 per cent seeing coloured spots or flashing lights.


Arlene Wilkie, chief executive at The Migraine Trust, said: “This YouGov poll signals a wakeup call with the reality that while migraine appears to have touched the majority of people polled, the very debilitating and serious nature of the condition is still not recognised.
“The findings will strike a chord with many sufferers who have received inadequate backing from their bosses, schools and universities.
“Our charity, together with Migraine Action and the National Migraine Centre, is here to help. We will provide people with everyday support as well as raising awareness of migraine and campaign for sufferers to get the support they need in the workplace and beyond.”