The disease is characterized by high occurrence in the working-age population and by significant impact in countries with high economic and social development. These two epidemiological aspects carry significant economic costs that can be estimated calculating loss of working days due to illness and appreciable loss of labour productivity. In an occupational setting several circumstances are known to cause the onset of attacks in workers who already suffer from primary headache. In this sense, the following factors have an important role: interruption of the circadian sleep-wake rhythm, sleep deprivation, physical/mental distress, not ergonomic postures (mainly those involving the cervical-brachial district), prolonged use of display screen, acoustic discomfort. Among chemicals, in the current conditions of exposure, the olfactory characteristics seem of primary importance rather than the more "conventional" mechanism of toxicity. The main aim of this study is to provide useful information to occupational physicians on the management of workers suffering from primary headache, with regard either to the formulation of the judgement of suitability, or to their auxiliary role in the planning and organization of work. A second aim involves the identification of specific preventive measures in order to reduce the probability of occurrence of a headache attack. This also minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries and ensures workers' efficiency. After these considerations, we suggest guidelines for a flow chart (aimed to understand worker's suitability for his/her specific task). This guarantees not only safety and health of workers who suffer from the illness, but also safeguards any third worker from a possible consequence due to less working capacity and reduction of attention of employees working with a headache attack. In conclusion we also identify three critical factors: the diagnosis of the form of primary headache, the characteristics of the work and the effects due to pharmacological therapy. The study and characterization of these elements are a crucial step for a proper formulation of the judgement of suitability to work. We report a decision process for judgement formulation at the end of this article. It is organized with a hierarchical model, the first steps are the clinical examination and history, the last step, if necessary or advisable, is the neurological visit and a periodic verification of the adherence to treatment prescribed and the follow-up.
|Translated title of the contribution||Primary headache and work: Concept of pathophysiology, occupational risk factors, health surveillance and criteria for the formulation of suitability judgment|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health