Working with a migraine

Many people who suffer migraine headaches keep working despite the debilitating pain, says a new survey of more than 3000 Americans.

Nine of 10 migraine sufferers surveyed said they've suffered a migraine at work and 66 percent said they stayed on the job as they coped with their migraine pain and symptoms.

Of the people who said they had a migraine at work, 91 percent said their ability to function on the job was affected either somewhat or to a great degree. That translates into about 400 hours per person of diminished work performance a year.

Eighty million lost work days
The online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Pfizer Inc., is the first to look at the effects of migraine in the workplace and the efforts of people who suffer migraines to maintain their work productivity.

Survey respondents said they lost, on average, more than four days of work a year due to migraine. Based on an estimated 18,5 million migraine sufferers in the American workforce, that works out to about 80 million lost workdays per year.

About 20 percent of the people reported suffering severe migraines. They lost twice as much work time than other migraine sufferers in the three months before the survey, which was conducted from October 28, 2002, to November 5, 2002.

Differences in male and female sufferers
Women reported they felt less in control than men over the impact of migraine on their family and social lives. Men reported feeling slightly less control than women over the impact of migraine on their careers.

The survey found that 17 percent of women said their work colleagues didn't know about their migraine condition, compared to 29 percent of men. Men in the survey said they were less comfortable discussing migraines and were less likely to have told their boss about suffering migraines.

Only migraine sufferers feel the pain
The majority of respondents, 89 percent, said it's difficult for people who don't suffer migraines to understand how migraines affect quality of life.

Of those polled, 61 percent said they rely on over-the-counter medicines or take nothing at all for their migraines. Of those who use prescription medicines, about a third said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment. – (HealthScout News)

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