HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 2, Issue - Page 14

research NO BREAKTHROUGHS HERE Helping You Live Better self help Be Your Own Advocate RESEARCHERS EXPLORE AIRPLANE HEADACHE small seat, changes in barometric pressure and other stresses associated with air travel, it doesn’t seem respondents noted it generally did the pain was severe and stabbing, Researchers have proposed a clas- Communicating with Co-workers By Kelly Caldwell Some headache specialists aren’t or post-concussion headaches,” which would require: At least two severe headaches related to air travel Headaches occurring exclusively during airplane travel, together with headache with a sudden and severe onset and spontaneous decrease in the severe pain when the ascent and/or Headache that cannot be attributed to any other disorder late it could be related to anatomic K Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry those researchers had already blood vessels was a contributing dilatation caused the surround—Jackie Walker Gibson Journal of Headache Pain Mainardi’s paper seemed to open the mented “airplane headache” was - ELLIE MCDONALD, 25, misses a noticeable amount of work for her headaches—anywhere from two days a month to two days a week. When she’s in attendance, she may be experiencing a migraine or tension-type headache. During meetings, she wears menthol-medicated patches (which numb muscle pain) on her forehead. Her co-workers at the University of California-Riverside see the patch and ask if she’s OK, some of them giving her sad looks. McDonald says she wishes they would ignore the patch and reports feeling a “tremendous amount of guilt” about missing work. “I feel like I have to say I have car trouble because it’s like I’m crying wolf,” says McDonald of Redlands, Calif., an assistant coordinator for the Student Success Programs unit of the Academic Resource Center. For people with headache whose bosses and co-workers are less than sympathetic, a proactive conversation about accommodations may be beneficial. when the employee starts to miss several days of work, coworkers may become suspicious. “Someone who has never had a migraine might think it’s just a bad headache, that you should take an aspirin and get over it,” says Kathleen Farmer, PsyD, a headache psychologist with the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo. ASKING FOR ACCOMMODATIONS nHF GRAnTS The following research studies are supported by The Libby Fund, a project of the National Headache Foundation: Sensory Network Plasticity in Migraine with Aura Department of Neurology University of Utah Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah CSD-Induced Cortical Metabolic Perturbations and the Genesis of Migraine Head ache Harvard Medical School/Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, Mass. For information on the Libby Cephalalgia and revealed: headache are men sengers may experience a headache Given the many stressors previously PRODUCTIVITY PROBLEMS mond said, “I would not recommend should alarm the general public about —Jackie Walker Gibson Employee health problems lead to approximately 41 minutes of absence and 2 hours and 29 minutes of lost productivity each week, according to a study in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. For migraine, productivity loss is often higher, given that migraineurs average two to four attacks per month (which can last anywhere from four to 72 hours) and chronic migraineurs experience 15 or more migraines in a month. The combination of medical expenses related to migraine, productivity loss and absenteeism costs U.S. industries an estimated $31 billion per year. Proactively addressing productivity issues related to a headache condition can help to create a healthy environment for the employee and foster understanding among coworkers and supervisors/managers. Unfortunately, when an employee first reveals that he or she has a condition, or Still, don’t let the fear of your colleagues’ reactions prevent you from initiating an important dialogue. Dawn A. Marcus, MD, a professor specializing in fibromyalgia and migraine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit and The Woman’s Fibromyalgia Toolkit, says that employees should discuss their needs with their employers, but in a concise and constructive manner. “What the boss wants to hear is that you have strategies,” Dr. Marcus says. “Your boss may be able to provide reasonable accommodations to help you stay more productive.” For example, if you are a receptionist, you may want to request a headset for your phone to avoid neck pain. You might also request the ability to go to a dark room, take an hour lunch break or break up time throughout the day to rest your eyes. Staying focused on practical needs puts the focus on what is tangible, instead of intangible feelings that might be misinterpreted. As for when this conversation should happen, Dr. Farmer says, “When an employer hires someone, they can’t ask about their health because that would be discriminatory.” Dr. Farmer suggests waiting to have the discussion until employment begins and when a condition becomes unmanageable. By proactively addressing any special needs, employees can demonstrate to their bosses and co-workers that they want to be valuable members of the team. Further, bringing awareness to the condition could lead to staff-wide understanding of a condition that might otherwise be invisible. Hw www.headaches.org | National Headache Foundation 13 12