Healthcare professionals experience higher migraine risks

Heavy workloads, emotional stress, and rotating night shift sleep disturbances are the most important causes of migraine headaches in healthcare professionals (HCPs) like physicians, nurses, pharmacists and social workers.

Migraine headaches are one of the most prevalent neurological disorders—they affect up to 12% of the general population and are the third highest cause of disability worldwide. Because they recur, migraine headaches are a potentially debilitating condition that reduces work, daily, and school activity.

In 2001, the World Health Organization recognized migraine headaches as an important public health concern and listed them as one of the leading causes of disability in the world.

Work stress, one of the environmental factors, is believed to be a significant factor in causing migraines.

In an article from The Journal of Headache and Pain, a study cohort was selected from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database. Physicians, nurses and other HCPs (pharmacists, technicians, dieticians, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, etc.) were enrolled for the study cohort, and randomly selected non-HCPs were enrolled for the comparison cohort.

Findings show that HCPs in Taiwan had a higher risk of migraines than the general population. Nurses and physicians were found to be especially vulnerable to migraines, while physician obs/gyn specialists had a lower migraine risk than other physician specialists.

Working in the hospital was found to be highly stressful because HCPs need to deal with unpredictable medical conditions, have excessive workloads and working hours, and are exposed to high levels of stress and are frequently emotionally exhausted. Stress elicited the onset of migraines, acted as a migraine trigger, and could act as a factor of migraine chronification.

Read the full article here: Higher migraine risk in healthcare professionals than in general population: a nationwide population-based cohort study in Taiwan.

Read the related article: Headache disorders are third cause of disability worldwide.

(The Journal of Headache and Pain is affiliated with the European Headache Federation and Lifting the Burden.)

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