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Headaches From Computer Use

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do you often experience headaches from computer use? You’re not alone. A significant portion of the population is forced to deal with nagging headaches when they work on a computer too long. This can be a particularly frustrating problem for people who depend on a computer for their livelihood. What causes headaches from computer work?

Headaches From Computer Use: What Causes Them?

Most commonly, computer headaches comes from chronic eyestrain. Computer work forces the eyes to focus at a single distance for prolonged periods of time. This puts lots of strain on the ciliary muscles that control eye movements. Bad lightening and glare coming from the computer monitor also contributes to the problem of eyestrain - and the headaches that come from it.

Some people who experience eyestrain and recurrent headaches from computer use simply need to have their prescription changed. Others, who don’t wear glasses or contacts, may need to get corrective lenses. You can even buy special computer glasses that have an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare, but see an eye doctor first to make sure a prescription isn’t needed.

Headaches from Computer Use: Other Causes

Sometimes computer headaches come from muscle strain related to bad posture. Laptops are notorious for causing strained neck and back muscles, because you have to bend over more when using one. Re-evaluate your workstation, or have a professional do it, to make sure it’s ergonomically correct - and make any adjustments necessary to reduce back and neck strain that can trigger computer headaches.

Other tips? Don’t forget to take frequent breaks to give your eyes, and neck and back, a break from being in one position too long. Keep a set of light hand weights nearby and do a few upper body exercises to target the neck and back muscles throughout the day. This will help to strengthen the strained muscles and make them more resistant to soreness. Yoga exercises also work well for reducing muscle strain.

Cause of a Headache: It’s Not Always the Computer

Don’t be too quick to blame it all on your computer. There are other causes of headaches. If the symptoms don’t resolve, see a doctor to make sure there’s not another reason why your head hurts all the time.

References

Medicinenet.com. "Eyestrain May Cause Headaches"
Merck Manual. Eighteenth edition. 2006.

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