Office Migraines Can Hurt Productivity

January 21, 2009 ( - Virtually all large employers participating in a new survey said they recognized workers afflicted with migraines were not as productive, but few keep track of the problem.

The Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) polled 34 big companies and found that 91% knew their workers couldn’t get as much done if their heads were pounding from a headache, according to a news release.

While the employers said they still look to their health plan and wellness program providers to help them manage the worker productivity issues and related costs associated with the office migraine problem, the employers often don’t keep track of those programs’ impact.

The release said the poll was sponsored by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which offers the anti-migraine drug Treximet.

“Migraine is a serious, neurological, chronic condition that non-sufferers often view as only stress-related and easily treated,” said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO, in the release. “The reality is that it results in lost productivity and causes significant disruptions to migraine sufferers’ work and personal lives.”

According to the release, the survey findings also included:

  • While 76% of responding employers indicated they have not calculated the direct and/or indirect costs of migraine, the impact is considered a more costly and serious problem for employers involved in manufacturing, with 44% responding that this is a concern. Forty-seven percent of employers are interested in tools to measure the costs associated with migraine.
  • Most employers offer migraine resources and programs with the majority offering health coaches/nurse lines (38%); migraine materials and Web site information from health plans or vendors (24%); and onsite clinics (24%).