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What sort of work accommodations can be made for migraines?

If you've ever had a genuine migraine, there's little chance you'll confuse it with an ordinary tension headache. Migraines can be utterly debilitating -- and an estimated 4 million adults in the United States suffer from a chronic form that affects them 15 days or more out of every month.

If you're a migraineur who is struggling with head pain, nausea and other symptoms, asking for reasonable accommodations from your employer can help you manage your condition and keep working.

Some of the most common workplace accommodations migraine victims may request include:

Ways to reduce triggers

Triggers are basically anything that sets your migraines in motion or makes your condition worse. Lights, sounds and smells are some of the most common triggers for migraines, so controlling your environment is important. You might:

  • Ask to have different lighting or anti-glare filters put over your desk or shades put on the windows
  • Ask to be moved to a quieter part of the office, away from the noisy lobby
  • Ask to use a white noise machine or wear noise-canceling headphones

You may need some assistance figuring out exactly what options will work for you, but there are many.

Ways to work around episodes

If you have migraines a few times a week, you may need to seek further accommodations, such as:

  • Flex-time so that you can clock in late or leave early with an attack
  • The ability to work from home when you're recovering
  • A quiet area at work where you can lay down

You may also need special accommodations for more frequent doctor visits in order to treat your condition, especially if you are still looking for effective medications.

As long as the accommodations don't substantially interfere with your job duties or unduly burden your employer, there's no reason they shouldn't allow them. If you're unfairly denied accommodations for your migraines or another medical condition, it may be time to consult with an attorney.

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