Managing Migraine in the Workplace: Podcast


An excerpt from the podcast Spotlight on Migraine hosted by the Association of Migraine Disorders, Managing Migraine in the Workplace with guest Paula Dumas.

“So for every 1,000 employees, migraine in the workforce costs about $84,000 in excess healthcare treatments and lost work time. Most of that is actually in presenteeism. But what’s really cool to look at is to take this in any organization, and if you work for an organization — one of mine had 58,000 employees. That number — I can’t do the head math — but that number would get the attention of any CEO or CFO if there was an opportunity to reduce it or adjust it.

What’s really interesting about migraine is that there are hidden costs of what we call “presenteeism.” And most people think, “Oh, people with migraine are going to miss a day of work.” The reality is that most people with migraine who I know — and the data supports this — work through them if they can, and so they do everything they can to keep from calling in sick. But, in fact, what happens is we’re working on the job and just not working at full capacity. And that’s what’s called “presenteeism.”


So the impact on the employee experience, really, we’re trying to fully include women, people, and others with disabilities — what in many organizations is called diversity, equity, and inclusion, DE&I. We want to increase productivity, reduce the number of times you have to call in sick, or just try to work without feeling very good. And then increase the engagement, satisfaction, and morale — too many people are dropping out of the workplace or being really frustrated in the workplace because of migraine, and it affects the entire organization morale. And then improved retention and loyalty, so that people like me and many of the others who you saw earlier are able to keep the jobs that they really, really need and employers are able to keep the people in whom they’ve invested a lot of training and effort.”

Listen to the full podcast here.