Headaches in Workplace Costing Companies Billions

Migraine headaches costs American businesses between $5.6 and $17.2 billion in lost work productivity a year, according to a study.

Migraine headaches costs American businesses between $5.6 and $17.2 billion in lost work productivity a year.

A recent national survey of working women with migraine conducted by the National Headache Foundation (NHF) revealed that 89 percent suffer migraine attacks while at work.

Forty-one percent cite workplace stress as their most common headache trigger, 61 percent say their headaches become so severe they are forced to take time off work, and nearly 80 percent report lost productivity overall.

The survey of working women migraineurs also revealed that more than half (55 percent) report that migraines affect their ability to function at work, 37 percent report home and family responsibilities being compromised, and, among those who travel for business, half (53 percent) experience migraines while traveling - potentially rendering business trips less productive.

"The economic burden of headache is staggering," said Dr. Lawrence Newman, director, Headache Institute, at St. Luke''s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. "More work time is lost due to headaches than to cancer, heart disease and mental illness combined. We need to pro-actively identify headache sufferers in the workplace and offer them opportunities for correct diagnosis and treatment. Employers can significantly reduce the health-care related costs associated with headaches. It is far less expensive to treat migraine correctly than to under treat it."

"Primary headache disorders are a common condition responsible for extracting an enormous toll on the sufferer, his or her family, friends and co-workers as well as society as a whole," continued Newman. "Many patients never consult a physician; others have lapsed from care because of misdiagnosis or ineffective treatment."

by Virginia Foran

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