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Migraines can be a headache at work

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By FIONA MACRAE

London - Nearly one in three migraine sufferers has been disciplined at work because of their condition, a charity has warned.

Its research also found that almost half believe they are treated unfairly over sickness absence.

Four in ten feel unsupported by their bosses and colleagues.

One woman questioned said she had lost her last three jobs over time off ill. Others claimed they had been singled out for redundancy or overlooked when applying for jobs.

Hannah Verghese, of the Migraine Trust, which commissioned the survey, said: “Many employers are failing to recognise the severity of the condition or make appropriate adjustments for employees with migraine. Sufferers are too often put at a disadvantage in the workplace.

“They are penalised by harsh sickness absence policies and unaware of their rights, many try to cover up their condition and do not ask for support for fear of being stigmatised.

“Employers need to be aware of the disabling impact of the condition and provide support and fair treatment for migraine sufferers at work.”

Migraines feature in the World Health Organisation’s top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions and affect one in four women and one in 12 men.

They lead to more sick days than any other illness, at a cost to the economy of more than £2-billion a year.

The intense headaches, which can be accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances, as well as sensitivity to light, can take up to three days to pass.

Employment lawyer David Cubitt, a Migraine Trust trustee, said: “Attacks range from a ‘nuisance’ headache to a debilitating condition that is protected by law as a disability.”

The charity, which surveyed 348 migraine sufferers, has produced a leaflet for employees and employers.

Separate research, conducted by migraine treatment Imigran Recovery, suggests that stress is the most common trigger for migraines. It was blamed as the most common migraine cause by 94 of 100 GPs questioned.

London-based GP Dr Sarah Jarvis said: “The impact of stress on our health can never be underestimated.

“Where there’s a migraine attack, then for a lot of my patients, there’s normally stress involved.” - Daily Mail

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