Employee Health Study Could Alleviate Lost-Productivity Headaches

By Deborah Austin Headaches and migraines cost America $13 billion annually in lost work, reduced productivity and medical care, says the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM). But basic interventions like proper medication and stress management could shrink such costs, suggest recent IHPM study results. The six-month study -- on chronic-headache work-performance impact and headache management methods -- was the initial project of an IHPM alliance with Kansas City, Mo.-area employers. For the 93 employees participating start-to-finish, results included:

  • 606 fewer days with headaches;
  • Eleven fewer missed workdays;
  • 174 additional days of improved productivity. Most-effective headache interventions: medication (33% of participants); stress management (20%); exercise (13%); and regular sleep (13%). Three-fifths of participants felt more in control of headaches via an awareness/intervention program; one-fifth, previously misdiagnosed, now are getting appropriate treatment. Eighty-five percent are taking headache medication; 92% say it's working. The IHPM, Scottsdale, Ariz., is a nonprofit research-and-development organization working to establish the value of employee health as a business asset.
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