Migraine at work, which solutions?

the labor market

In France, nearly 7 million people suffer from recurrent migraines.

by means of Leo Potter

Tuesday 21 June 2022 was World Migraine Solidarity Day. Still little recognized and often underestimated, migraine is nevertheless a widespread pathology in our society: according to figures from Inserm, about 15% of the world’s population is affected, causing real problems in their personal and professional lives. Analysis of this phenomenon with Sabine Debremaeker, co-founder of the association La Voix des Migraineux.

What is the role of The Voice of Migraineurs?

We founded the association with three other patients with chronic migraine The Voice of Migraines In 2018, I clicked through an observation on social networks: people with migraines were very often isolated, stigmatized and widely subject to misinformation, making them easy prey for ill-advised pseudo-practitioners. Having suffered from chronic migraines myself since childhood, I knew their torment. I could have as many as 25 consecutive days of crisis in the same month! With all the vagueness that surrounds this pathology, I had the will to reach out to these people and create an entity capable of helping them, guiding them. Our association now has 29 members and responds to 3 key words: recognize, inform, support† Recognize migraine as a pathology and a real disability. Inform people with the disease about the right people and the right treatments to turn to and support them in the face of their difficulties by giving them advice and listening.

What are the consequences of migraine for the work of those involved? What about job search?

According to our statistics, 15% of people with migraine are unable to have a job because of their condition. It is also estimated that 1 in 4 people have lost professional opportunities because of their migraine condition. When it comes to looking for work, migraine sufferer is a double-edged sword: either the employer will fear your disability and therefore prefer to hire someone who does not suffer from migraine, or the employer will minimize your condition and treat you once in business as if you had only a mild illness. That is why it is also necessary to be as clear as possible about your situation from your job interview. In addition, we all have a duty to stop stigmatizing migraine sufferers by considering them a burden to the company. This association of ideas is similar to the case of a pregnant woman and a person with another disability, and amounts to discrimination. It is suppressed by law in theory, but difficult to prove in practice. So priority should be given to a substantive message.

Why do you think migraine is not considered a debilitating pathology in France?

The answer is ultimately the same for any phenomenon that suffers from a lack of recognition: because they are the target of prejudices and persistent ideas. It’s just a little headacheit will succeedWhen we want we can », and of course the famous « it’s not a real disease Add to that the fact that migraine is still poorly understood by the medical world, very little taught and studied. This makes migraine something benign in the eyes of the general public. However, migraine is one of the most debilitating diseases according to theWorld Health Organisation† Knowing this, only 1% of people who suffer from migraines in France are recognized as disabled. You can clearly see the problem, there is also a lack of political will on this subject, which the association is committed to.

To date, there is no cure that can completely cure migraines.

What to do to relieve a migraine attack? Is there a treatment?

As for mitigating a crisis itself, it is possible to use triptans [ndlr : traitement à base de sérotonine prévu pour soulager des crises de migraine aïgue]† Only downside, this remedy is of variable effectiveness and its use is limited to eight times a month. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) can also be effective, but they also have their limitations. As far as basic treatment is concerned, to date there is no cure that can completely cure migraines. Most of the treatments prescribed by neurologists turn out to be antidepressants or antiletics, ie unsuitable drugs with side effects. It still seems important to me to have the existence of anti-CGRP, which are currently one of the few agents intended for the treatment of migraine. Unfortunately, anti-CGRP are not yet covered by Social Security, although their effectiveness has been proven, without very limiting side effects.

What would you advise someone with migraines looking for a job?

If you ever feel that your condition may affect your ability to work, it is best to notify your employer and the occupational physician as soon as you interview and as soon as you arrive at the company. The idea is to create a healthy environment as soon as possible that does not aggravate your condition and is able to support you. The recognition and respect of your colleagues and supervisors is also essential, even if that means referring to your employer. Note that you can apply for Disability Worker Recognition (RQTH) to formalize your status. Do not hesitate to contact the Association for the Management of the Fund for the Vocational Integration of the Disabled (AGEFIPH) or of course our association! The latter will also be able to help and support people with migraine in their job search, by representing them with recruitment problems, advising them on the attitude to take in interviews and teaching them how to address the issue of their disability. .

Leave a Comment