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Quit scrolling because AIIMS researchers say smartphone use can make headaches worse

Published on:6 March 2020, 10:00am IST
Smartphones can bring the world to you in a jiffy, but they can also make your headaches worse and increase your dependence on painkillers according to AIIMS.
Team Health Shots
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Give your phone and yourself a much needed nap. GIF Courtesy: Public Art Fund via Giphy

Imagine this: you have had a long day of work and your head is pounding. So you come back home, sip on hot tea, while scrolling on Instagram. Sounds relaxing right? Well, not really if you have a pre-existing headache condition. Not to mention that smartphone headache is a legit concern.

According to a research paper from AIIMS, smartphone users who suffer from constant headaches and migraines are less likely to find relief in painkillers.

The study, which was published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, studied 400 Indians suffering from migraine, tension headaches and other types of headache.

Of the 400 people, 206 were smartphone users and 194 were non-users.

People who did not use smartphones were older, had a lower education level and were more likely to have a low socioeconomic status than those who did use smartphones.

Here is what the AIIMS researchers found
Study authors found that people who used smartphones were more likely to take pain-relieving drugs for their headaches as compared to non-users.

And while the smartphone users took an average of eight pills per month, non-users took about five.

Smartphone users also reported less relief from the medication–with 84% gaining moderate or complete relief of headache pain compared to 94% of non-users.

smartphone headache
If your day doesn’t begin or end without your smartphone, then missy, you might be in trouble. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“While the results need to be confirmed with larger and more rigorous studies, the findings are concerning, as smartphone use is growing rapidly and has been linked to a number of symptoms, with headache being the most common,” said study author Deepti Vibha, from AIIMS in New Delhi.

The root cause of why smartphones make headaches worse is unclear
“The root of the problem is not yet clear. Is it a user’s neck position? Or the phone’s lighting? Or eye strain? Or the stress of being connected at all times? Answers will likely emerge in upcoming years and eventually guide strategies for more sustainable use of the devices,” said Heidi Moawad, member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Features such as hands-free settings, voice activation and audio functions could potentially hold the key to helping smartphone users benefit from their phones without exacerbating their headaches,” Moawad added.

Also read: Being addicted to your phone can lead to loneliness and this time even science is saying it

Nonetheless, this is another reason for you to break-up with your smartphone
Dear discerning reader, by now we are hoping you know just how bad your smartphone addiction is for your health. Right from straining your eyes to its blue light disturbing sleep patterns and causing your skin to sag–your phone can do all that and more.

And while you cannot quit this lifeline altogether, using it in moderation can go a long way and contribute to healthy living. So put down your phone now please. Thankee!

(With inputs from IANS)

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