Migraine sufferers often work with pain

July 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

Most people who suffer from migraine headaches continue to work despite their pain.

Most people who suffer from migraine headaches continue to work despite their pain, according to a survey conducted by Rochester, NY-based Harris Interactive.

According to the nationwide survey of more than 3,000 migraine sufferers, nine out of ten said they have suffered a migraine at work, and as many as 66% said they struggled through the extreme pain and symptoms while continuing to do their jobs.

Reduced ability to work

The survey, which was sponsored by New York-based Pfizer Inc., revealed that though most migraine sufferers tough it out, their headaches do impact job performance. Of those who had a migraine at work, 91% said their ability to function on the job was affected "somewhat" or "a great deal." This translates to about 400 hours of diminished performance per person per year, based on national projections from the survey sample. Also, 82% of those polled said migraines hindered their ability to solve problems and interact with others.

In addition, respondents said they lost the equivalent of more than four days of work a year on average because of migraine. Based on an estimated 18.5 million migraine sufferers in the work force, migraine results in roughly 80 million lost workdays per year.

Not in control

Women reported feeling less in control of the impact of migraine on their family and social lives than men did, while men reported slightly less control over migraine's impact on their careers than women did. Nonetheless, women were more likely to seek support from colleagues. Only 17% of women polled said their colleagues didn't know about their migraine condition, versus 29% of men. Men in the survey acknowledged that they were less comfortable discussing migraines and were less likely to have told their boss about their headache condition, or to have admitted that migraine was the reason they called in sick. PR

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