Triggers and Causes

Florescent lights

  • By mmcinturf

    I am so glad to have found this community. My main trigger is florescent lights at my workplace. I started a new job in July and have had a headache almost daily since. Before that, I had one migraine headache and I would occasionally have an aura with no headache.

    Here’s what I have done so far to help with the migraines, and how it is going:

    – I bought theraspecs. They help noticeably but not if I need to sit under florescent lights for over an hour.
    – Sumitriptan works often but I can’t take it every time I get a headache. Maximum is 9 times per month.
    – Topimax – I started it yesterday so I don’t know yet.

    I am a professor. The lighting situation is this: I have unoffensive lamps in my office, but when I teach or go to meetings, or even when I walk down the hallways, I can get a migraine in 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes, my colleagues will turn some of the lights of for me and that helps a lot. I wore sunglasses indoors before I got the theraspecs but I always thought it didn’t look right.

    Does anyone else have a similar situation? How did you address it in your workplace?

    Thanks for your help,

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Molly,

    Thank you for sharing your story and being here with us! Lighting is a strong trigger for many of us and is frustrating for sure. I know many people with migraine disease who has issues in the workplace with lights. These articles that have tips and tricks may help;

    I’ve not had to deal with this as I work PT from home. Hopefully others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you.

    Let me know if this information helps,

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  • By GardensatNight

    I am super light sensitive.

    -Could they install LED lights with very high rates of flicker and change out the ballasts in the rooms you teach in+ any rooms you will be required to be in for meetings (or teleconference you in ON A SAFE SCREEN)+ any hallways you need to go through frequently? I cannot tolerate LED light either, but my brain is a special animal. For some people, this works. Do you find LED lights irritating? Are you sure the lights overhead are fluroescent? Might want to ask the building manager or janitor.

    -If you could be given an office with natural light (rather than needing lamps), that would be even better. All lightbulbs will flicker to some degree. If you get a migraine within 5-10 minutes of exposure, you’re very sensitive. What was your lighting like before? Have you been to a neuro-opthamologist? Headache specialist?

    -I would check your computer screens. They have ALL SORTS of screens from filters that go over the screens to the kind I use that emits no light and doesn’t flicker at all. Light sensitivity and computer screens is not an unknown issue. If the overhead lights are bugging you, the TV and computer and phone are probably twice as bad because of the light/flicker AND refresh rate. For me, that was the first thing I noticed hurting.

    -Many people with migraine disease need sunglasses and a hat under fluorescent lights. Theraspecs are good because they don’t darken too much, but if you’re still getting a headache every day, you need to keep working to try to find a solution or (IMHO) I would get away from that type of lighting.

    -Check all the lights/screens in your house. Incandescent lightbulbs are best for light sensitive people according to one of my neuro-opthamologists because our brains perceive the flicker the least. I would keep away from TV and get a safe computer screen for home if work is hurting me.

    -Polarized sunglasses will help you with glare outside when it’s sunny.

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