Mental Health

Your Smartphone Is Making Your Headaches Worse

It is common advice to keep your smartphone away when having a headache. Now, a new study gives new information on how the device makes the pain worse and how it may trigger new headaches. 

The latest study, published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, shows how smartphone users have a harder time recovering from headaches. Researchers gathered 400 people in India who had a primary headache condition, CNN reported Wednesday.

The participants experienced either migraines, tension headaches or other types of headaches that did not occur due to preexisting health problems. Researchers looked into their smartphone use, headache history and medication use.

The team then divided them into two groups, separating those who did not use a mobile device and the people who were frequently on their phones. Researchers found that 96 percent of smartphone users were more likely to take pain-relieving drugs, while 81 percent of non-smartphone users would take such medications. 

Those who frequently used smartphones while taking pain medications felt less relief compared to those who didn't use their phones during the study. The same group also appeared more likely to experience aura, or the warning sensation before an attack of epilepsy or migraine.

Majority of participants who did use phones reported moderate to complete relief from headache pain after receiving pain treatments. However, both groups shared the same frequency and severity of headaches. 

"The associations found in the study do prompt the possibility that smartphone use may be a potential trigger for headache worsening, and there might be unexplored mechanisms which future studies may unravel," Deepti Vibha, study author and associate neurology professor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, said. 

However, the team noted they did not determine how excessive smartphone use directly contributed to the severity of headaches. The study also did not follow the participants over time to observe changes following the tests. 

Earlier research suggested that people have some behaviors when using smartphones that can contribute to headaches, such as frequently bending the neck. A 2018 study showed that such posture causes strain on the spine that can feel like the equivalent of 20 or 30 pounds.

Eye strain because of longer screen time also contributes to headaches, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

Smartphone Researchers found that mobile phones have been sending more people to emergency rooms in the U.S. over the past two decades due to injuries, like facial cuts, bruises and fractures. Pixabay

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