Any teachers out there?

I’m a primary school teacher and have been off work for 9 months. I’m going to try going back to work for 3 mornings per week, hoping to be back full time eventually. Is it possible to go back to working 50 hours a week again?

My neurologist said that Vestibular Migraines are common with teachers due to the stress, exposure to florescent light and constant moving associated with the job.

As a teacher, what are your experiences?

Hi louise

I’m a primary teacher too. Are you in the UK? As teaching here is such a hard, stressful job now. I’ve been part time for quite a few years now due to having young children, but I’m sure returning to work after my third child was just the cherry on the cake for me and that’s when this all kicked off. I had quite a while off and then supplied all of last year.

Although supply comes with its own problems I actually found this the best way for me. You go in teach, mark and go home. No responsibility, no planning, no targets, observations etc etc. If I was worried I wasn’t going to be up to working, it didn’t matter and I could turn work down. I didn’t get early morning calls, it was pre booked stuff the agency offered me. I only did a couple of days a week and found it wad better if they weren’t consecutive as I could switch my brain off a bit in between days. Of course, there’s no sick pay or pay during the holidays.

It’s not a bad route to get your toe back in the water.

Hi Scott, thank you for sharing your experiences :slight_smile: I’m in the UK and it’s definitely a stressful job but I used to be able to cope with it until I was hit with Vestibular Migraines. Supply can’t really be an option for me due to financial reasons, but it’s something I’ll keep in the back of my mind for when circumstances change :slight_smile: Which medication are you taking?

Hi, I’m a teacher in the United States. I teach 5-11 years of age. I pull small groups to work with students who are considered “gifted”. School started back two weeks ago and I wasn’t able to go back. Since last March I started getting really bad reactions to the fluorescent lights in my school. I would get tunnel vision, dizzy, and feel like I was going to pass out. I of course put off a doctor visit thinking I would just get through the spring semester then treat it over summer break. During that time I got worse, grocery stores really started bothering me and I was dizzy after exercising.

Long story short, I’ve had all the tests ekg, pulmonary, vng, CT scan,full blood panel, hearing. Everything else has been ruled out. In fact all vitals are perfect. Six weeks ago I was sent to VT to see if it was possible BPPV. The therapist thought for sure it was inner ear. This was before I had hearing and VNG. I did the VT exercises and they made me worse. Plus they made my neck hurt (it gets tight from a very old injury). The therapist said we should loosen it up with cervical traction. Worst decision of my life. The day after I literally couldn’t stand light and was extremely dizzy. Here I am 6 weeks later still on a rocking boat with head pressure and actual migraine pain. I haven’t had the migraine pain for 10 years. I’m now diagnosed with complete migraines. I’ve been on amitriptyline for 5 days. I was just put on prednisone today. Set to take 40 mg for two weeks then taper off. Praying im back to work by Tuesday.
I guess I’m lucky because I pull small groups of children at a time. It’s just hard to imagine working at all like this. Even thinking about all of the fluorescent lights at work makes me sick. Every time I see a back to school post from my friends on Facebook I cry LOL. I’m on medical leave right now…I just really want to be working again. Anyways trying to be positive about the amitriptyline kicking in! Sorry for the book.

Jw, that sounds terrible. I’ve been taking nortriptyline, a newer version of ami, for a year now and it has worked wonders. Hopefully it will help you too.

Louise, I’ve been doing really well on nortriptyline and following the diet. I’m careful with how much I’m doing, bedtimes etc. Have you tried any meds? So are you on sick leave from a job at the moment? If so, they should be pretty good at arranging a phased return. Have you spoken to them? Perhaps you could cover PPA or do booster groups as jw above does, rather than having the responsibility of having your own class to begin. I wouldn’t rush anything. It’s slow progress with this thing unfortunately.

I definitely agree with small groups! Stress is much less. I’m hoping the ami works Scott. How long did it take for the nort to kick in for you? I’m on day 7 right now.

4 days for me btw. But even better after 1 month once I’d upped the dose to 20mg

It was longer for me on the nort. I’d say once I reached 20 mg which was probably after a couple of months. It was gradual improvement over months. To be honest, I got a bit worse for a couple of weeks every time I increased dose. I’m now on 40 and have been doing really well. Pretty much normal. I’ve not been as great the past couple of weeks but we’ve just moved house, start a new job next week etc and the stress has got to me, but I’m sure I’ll level off again. Good luck with it!

Wow, it sounds like quite a journey but I’m glad that you can teach small groups. My principal looked into that for me, along with the decrease in pay, but said that she couldn’t offer me anything. I’m thankful that she tried but I’ll be going back to teaching 34 children full time. I hope the Amitriptyline works for you, that’s what I take (after trialling many different medications!). I started with 10mg and am now on 60mg, it only started working when I increased it to 50mg. I’m just starting to get my life back and become independent again!

I’m on 60mg of Amitriptyline at the moment which seems to be working, I only have 2 bad days per week now. I’m still on sick leave and unfortunately, my school has a tight budget so they can’t afford to give me another role. I’ll be going back for 5 mornings a week to start with, when I’m no longer having bad days.

That’s great that the ami is working for you! Teaching can be really stressful. I keep thinking it’s the worse profession for this particular illness. On amazon I found some fluorescent light covers made especially for schools. Maybe you could put them in your classroom? They are made by Crayola.

Oh wow, thanks for letting me know, I’ll definitely look into that! I was so shocked when my neurologist said that 80% of the people she diagnoses with vestibular migraines are teachers. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else though!

How odd! Why is that??

That is crazy. I’d imagine it’s the pressure and stress that comes with the job. I have a friend that used to work on life insurance and she said the highest premiums went to teachers and prison wardens! It’s not a job I can ever imagine doing full time again.

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Yes, it’s definitely a stressful job. I love what I do and it is very rewarding because I work in inner-city/low-income schools. However, if I would have known I had MAV I probably would have chosen another field.

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Just the nature of the job I think: stress, bright lights, heat and loud noise maybe. Mine started with stress and was always worse on an afternoon, after being in the environment since 8am

I am a teacher in Australia in secondary schools. MAV and teaching are not good for each other. Noise is a problem. Also Smart screens and flourescent lights. Stress is not good either. It can bring on a full blown migraine. I also have trouble hearing students with a lot of background noise. I just cope the best way I can and rejuvenate on the weekends and holidays

Hi, I hope it’s okay to open this chat up again. I’ve been working part-time in a Primary school as an SEN Learning Support Assistant for the past few years. I’d always planned to retrain when my youngest was a little older, and as she’s going into year 6 in September, have applied for and been offered a place, to do my Teacher Training in September. I’ve had a good run lately, minimal nausea, swimmy feeling has been okay. My plan is to work part-time again once I’m qualified but I obviously have to get through the year of full-time training first. This week has been horrendous. Yesterday I felt exhausted, off balance and just “off”. Today I am equally tired but feeling sick to add to the joy, plus I can feel the pressure in my ears building and I look shattered. I have barely scraped through the last two days at work and that’s just doing 9-3. My period arrived this morning so hormones are obviously the trigger on this occasion. But how on earth am I supposed to train full time, do the necessary homework and be there for my children if I can’t cope with the job I’m currently doing when I feel like this?! My goal ever since I went back to work after having my children was to retrain as soon they were old enough for me to do so. The thought that I may not be able to do that is causing me many tears at the moment, which obviously won’t be helping matters! I just wondered if anyone had any insights, either from anyone who is already a teacher, or has done the training, or retrained as something else and how it was doing so with vestibular issues? I do have the option to defer my place for a year which my husband thinks I should consider, but I’ve come so far and am feeling really quite unsettled at potentially not being able to do the thing I have planned for for the past few years. Any advice would be gratefully received xx


With ongoing uncontrolled vestibular symptoms I would imagine any retraining scheme would be doubly challenging at very least. Add In your other projected responsibilities and I’d say it could easily prove impossible. Worse case scenario it would push you over the edge into something much more chronic. IMO your health should take top priority. Hubby is right. Smart Guy. Time to put preconceived ideas of your Life Plan on hold until you can achieve some stability. Lots of people find they can’t work, others find they need to change direction, cut hours etc to accommodate living with what is a chronic condition. I am hoping @nin might just be about to comment.

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Hi there !

Doing only one month of teacher training actually triggered my VM! One month only!

Good luck, don’t feel bad about any decision you take. This is full on and if you feel like deferring for a year don’t feel bad about it !