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Shocking results from migraine at work survey

02 September 2018


London, August 30, 2018: Migraines are a growing concern in the world of work with more than 50% of chronic migraine sufferers saying their employers were not supportive of their condition. These are some of the alarming findings from a new survey carried out by the National Migraine Centre.

• 25% had to change careers because of their migraines and/or headaches
• 16% lost their job because of migraines and/or headaches
• 97% of respondents answered that they work when in pain with headaches
• On average chronic sufferers lost 16.8 days of work per year due to headache related conditions

The survey was carried out to help highlight and understand the issues of migraine sufferers at work. The research was anonymous and was conducted by the National Migraine Centre over a two-month period from July – August 2018.

Dr Katy Munro of the National Migraine Centre says: “The impact of migraine and headaches on work is often unseen, underestimated or misunderstood by employers and can be underplayed by sufferers in order to hold on to their jobs. This common illness has a huge financial impact. Correct treatment and support at work can be beneficial to all concerned. When we have helped patients to explain their condition to their employers, it is often found that reasonable adjustments and support in the work place can result in benefits for both sufferer and employer.”

More than 23% of people suffer from migraines in the UK, according to The Work Foundation report ‘Society’s headache’. Migraine can cause not only head pain, but nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, loss of speech, vertigo, confusion, and sensitivity to light, smells and sound.

David Bloomfield, CEO of the National Migraine Centre, explains: “If more is done to address this problem, we will reduce the £10 billion cost to the economy and improve staff wellbeing and organisational productivity. It is time for more employers to wake up to the severity of this debilitating disease, which can impact on both careers, promotion, absenteeism and ultimately family life with devastating results.”

Other key findings identified in the National Migraine Centre’s first workplace survey:
• 54% suffer financially due to their migraines
• 91% find migraines affect their work
• Almost 50% of respondents felt their employer was not supportive of their condition
• The top causes in the workplace found to trigger an attack were stress, lighting, computer screens and long hours.

A patient of the National Migraine Centre shared their experiences: “I often fear disciplinary action. It puts so much pressure on someone who is already unwell. I had to reduce my hours to a minimum to just get by to try to ensure I can turn up to work.”

For help and further information, call the National Migraine Centre on 020 7251 3322 or visit www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk.


MEDIA ENQUIRIES: contact Charlotte Burr or Swati Raina on Tel: 020 7251 7806. Email: charlotte.burr@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk. Dr Katy Munro and David Bloomfield, CEO of the National Migraine Centre, are available for interviews.

Read our factsheet on ‘How to Live with Migraine’.

Click here to book a consultation with a headache specialist doctor.

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