Headaches at Work: How Can You Prevent Them?
If you get headaches or migraines frequently, especially when at work, certain triggers at your workstation, desk or worksite might be contributing to your pain. The good news is you can take steps to prevent these triggers from causing your headaches.
Adjust your lighting.
Fluorescent lighting and lighting that is too bright or too dim are frequent contributors to headaches in many people. In an office, you may be able to have the facilities department turn off your overhead fluorescent lights (simply by twisting the bulbs slightly) so that you can use a table lamp from home that you know doesn’t trigger you. Moving your workstation or adjusting your main workspace could help you avoid glare or bright light that causes you head pain. Adding more light to a workstation may help lessen eye strain, which could also be causing your headaches. Experiment with different solutions to find what works for you.
Dampen the noise.
Working inside heavy-duty construction vehicles or in a factory or warehouse with loud or varying noise from machines can cause headaches. Even working in an open office space or cubicle where you can hear other voices can make it difficult to relax or concentrate while you work. Try (work-approved) ear plugs that dampen noise but still let you be aware of sounds around you. Use headphones at work, if you’re allowed, to shut out extraneous chatter and help you focus.
Take eye breaks.
Staring at a computer screen or a screen on other digital machines and doing close-up work for long periods of time can cause eye strain and lead to headaches. Even if you don’t have time to take a 10- or 15-minute break, take some time each hour or every 30 minutes to look up and look away. Whether you work outside or inside, looking up and refocusing on something in the distance can help prevent and relieve eye strain.
Eat and hydrate.
It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to drink water or barely eat. Keep a refillable water bottle at your workstation to remind you to drink throughout the day. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches and one that’s easy to prevent if we get in the habit of drinking water regularly. When you’re rushed and busy with work, it’s too easy to grab unhealthy snacks from the vending machine. Taking some time at the start of each week to prepare healthy snacks and lunches means you’ll have healthy food options ready for you each day. Skipping meals or not eating enough could trigger headaches too.
Check your body position.
Excessive sitting or standing can cause tension headaches to arise. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and make sure your workstation is set up in an ergonomic fashion—in other words, set up so that your body is properly aligned while you do your work. For example, if you’re sitting, your chair should support the natural curve of your spine and be adjusted so that your feet can rest flat on the floor (or a footrest if that’s not possible). If you work using a monitor, that monitor should be at eye level and no more than arms length away so that you don’t have to lean forward, look down or look up to see what’s on your screen.
Following these tips at work can help prevent headaches, but when you do feel headache pain, reach for Goody’s® Extra Strength Headache Powder. It now comes in sealed on-the-go stick packs that you can easily store in your desk, work locker or purse so that you’re always prepared.