Are Smartphones Causing Your Headache?

Migraines are one of the most painful headaches a person can have, right after cluster headaches. Migraines are also one of the most prevalent headaches, affecting about 12 percent of people around the world, including children. There are a number of causes for migraines including weather and hormone changes, but what about your smartphone? 

 

How Smartphones Can Cause Headaches 

Surprisingly, there are a number of ways your smartphone can trigger migraines and even cause a tension headache.  

Blue Light and Eye Strain 

All digital gadgets, including your smartphone, emit what is known as blue light. This light is known to cause problems with sleeping because it interrupts the production of melatonin in the brain in the evening.  

But blue light also causes eye strain. When you look at a computer screen, tablet, or even your smartphone, you don’t blink as often as you do when you’re looking off into the distance. This is actually normal, but it also allows the eyes to dry out because the tear film evaporates.  

This makes focusing difficult and after a while, causes the delicate muscles inside the eye to become fatigued. This can easily trigger a migraine because the muscles are controlled by the trigeminal nerve, a nerve in the brain that is notorious for triggering migraines.  

Smartphone Headaches and Neck Strain 

Using a computer or looking down at your smartphone or tablet can also cause strain on the muscles in the neck. This, in turn, can cause the neck muscles to tighten and compress the cervical vertebrae. Called sub-occipital neuralgia, the compression puts pressure on the occipital nerves, and like the trigeminal nerve, these are notorious for triggering migraines.

 

Chronic Daily Headache Treatment 

All of the above can cause chronic daily headaches as well as migraines. But there are things you can do to help prevent them.  

Turn on the Blue Light Filter  

Most smartphones and tablets have a blue light filter or a night-time setting that uses a yellow color to block out the blue light. You can set it to be on constantly, or you can usually set a timer for it to come on at night before bedtime.  

Change the Brightness Level 

Some people are just naturally more light sensitive than others and light can trigger headaches. Change the brightness setting on your phone and see what is more comfortable.  

Make Your Font Larger 

Making the font on your phone or tablet bigger means your eyes have less work to do when focusing which can prevent headaches. 

For information on migraines or if you have chronic daily headaches, contact the National Headache Institute today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.