Charities accuse UK bosses of failing to understand the impact of migraines

September 5th, 2017
Charities accuse UK bosses of failing to understand the impact of migraines

shutterstock_458101153-6177A group of charities has accused employers in the UK of failing to understand the impact of migraines.

Three charities have joined forces to conduct a survey to find out more about the effects migranes have on workers and ascertain how employees in the UK are treated by their bosses. Migraine Action, The Migraine Trust and the National Migraine Centre conducted a survey involving more than 2,000 adults. It is estimated that up to 1 in 7 people are affected by migraines.

The survey findings suggested a severe lack of understanding in most cases, with 64 percent of participants stating that they believed their boss was not informed about the effects of migraines. Fiona McKenzie, 33, is one of the many people who have struggled with migraines at work. She was told she would lose her job if her attendance record didn’t improve after taking time off due to severe migraines. Fiona described the pain she experiences as akin to someone hitting her brain with an ice pick and suggested that it would be helpful if employers were better informed and more understanding.

There’s an assumption that a migraine is just a bad headache, but the pain can be debilitating on its own without even factoring in additional symptoms some people develop, such as vision disturbances, dizziness and photophobia (light sensitivity).

The survey also suggested that many sufferers believe that there is a lack of deep understanding in the medical profession, with 1 in 5 respondents saying that they thought health professionals they had seen had demonstrated a lack of knowledge in this area.

Fiona said that she has had understanding employers in the past, but she’s also encountered those who have urged her to pull her socks up and get on with it, even when she’s tried to continue working and avoided taking sick days.

Migraine Action’s Simon Evans, said that most people will do anything to avoid taking time off work, but when they do, some employers can demonstrate a lack of understanding and compassion. For many, the working environment is incredibly difficult to adapt to if you have a migraine given the bright screens, flashing lights and background noise in offices.

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