Headaches Hurt Employees, Employers

According to a 2008 NHF web survey, almost all of the respondents reported that they experience headaches at work and half indicated that they missed 1-3 days of work per month because of headache. Each year, it is estimated that time lost from work due to headache costs the nation up to $17 billion dollars in absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses.

Headaches in the workplace are an apparent but under acknowledged problem. An overwhelming 86% of respondents said the issue of work-related headaches has never been addressed at their place of employment and 93% reported that information on work-related headache treatment or prevention is not available through their employer. Ninety percent of respondents specified that headaches affect their work performance, but only 33% tell their employers about their headaches. According to respondents, workplace triggers can include work-related stress, florescent lighting, computer glare, or eye strain.

In order to get relief, you should discuss your work-related headaches with your healthcare provider. The NHF also offers the following advice:

  • Track your headaches. Using a headache diary, track your headaches for three months. Download a free headache diary at www.headaches.org and bring your results to your healthcare professional to review and determine whether your headaches are associated with workplace or other triggers.
  • Eliminate florescent lighting
  • Use a non-glare computer screen
  • Use a telephone headset instead of phone receiver
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Utilize ergonomically designed work spaces
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