Computers have become so entrenched in our lives that it’s difficult to imagine life without them. We use them at the office and at home to carry out different activities including communication, playing video games, researching and working. However, like with many good things, computers also have a negative side. If you spend lots of time in front of a computer, you probably get headaches. This is the topic of our discussion.
Headache from Computer: Causes and Remedies
1. Eyestrain and Poor Focus
When working on a computer, there are two important distances to consider. One is the resting point of accommodation (RPA), which is basically the distance from the monitor at which your eyes can relax and focus comfortably. The other one is the distance between the monitor and your eyes called the working distance (WD). The brain can comfortably focus the eye muscle within the RPA but most times there is a struggle with the WD which you are used to. This ‘conflict’ can lead to eye fatigue and eventually cause headache due to computer use.
There are a few ways to alleviate headaches caused by eyestrain:
- Take a break after every 45 minutes of working. A 10-minute break will be ideal for you to rest. Take a walk and breathe some fresh air.
- Blink more often to moisten your eyes to prevent dryness which causes eyestrain.
- Arrange your work environment to make it easier for you to refer from documents back to the monitor. Prop them up next to the monitor for easier referral.
- Get a thorough eye examination by your optician. Your doctor can also advice you on a preferable WD depending on your suitability.
- If you wear glasses, purchase a pair that has an anti-reflective coating which will help to reduce glare.
Lighting from fluorescent, desk lamps and natural light and the computer screen may cause headache from computer use.
Do the following to alleviate headaches triggered by illumination:
- Work on reducing the lighting in the room especially the overhead fluorescent lighting fixtures. When purchasing bulbs, go for the ones with low intensity.
- Adjust the screen brightness on the computer.
- Use an anti-glare screen on your screen if your computer is tube type (CRT).
3. Patterns or Images
Although there is little scientific evidence for it, some people say they are affected by certain patterns accompanied by flashing lights. Flashing shapes, bright changing lights, and bright shapes can trigger headaches in some people with neurological problems.
Avoid reading texts from busy backgrounds or bright colors. Consult a doctor without delay if you notice you are affected.
4. Poor Posture
Maintaining a good posture is vital to your overall health whether you are walking or sitting. Whenever you are working on your computer it is important to have the right posture to avoid straining your neck and back. Hunching and leaning towards your computer when working may cause headache from computer due to neck strain.
To prevent headaches from poor posture, simply change your sitting posture:
- Always sit in a comfortable chair and sit up straight with shoulders relaxed. Make sure the chair is big enough for you with a strong back that can comfortably support yours. There are certain chairs that offer neck support (ergonomic) as well if you need.
- The monitor should be directly aligned with your eyes. Do not sit up too high so that you strain your neck when typing
- Set the distance between your desk and your chair so that you can work comfortably. Not to close, not too far.
Computers emit electromagnetic fields, EMFs. These EMFs are a significant cause of headaches due to computer use.
Besides, EMFs are also emitted by WI-FI routers, mouse, wireless routers, wireless mouse and keyboard. Laptops generate a substantial amount of EMFs known as electromagnetic radiation due to the battery.
EMFs have been linked to chronic headaches, dizziness, lack of sleep and cognitive impairment among many others. Scientists suspect that these EMFs will cause a lot more health complications in future.
You cannot deny yourself the use of a computer since they are necessary for day to day life. But there are certain precautionary measures that you can take to protect yourself not only from headaches, but also more serious health risks.
- If you use a laptop, avoid placing it on your lap when using it. Some say you can use a pillow to shield yourself but this is not a foolproof method.
- If you are prone to headaches, it may be worthwhile to purchase EMF protection gear. Buy from reliable companies that offer quality and durability.
By elimination, you can easily determine what is causing your headache from computer; posture, EMFs, eyestrain, lighting, or all of the above.
Other Natural Ways to Help You Relieve Headaches from Computers
1. Live a healthy life. Eat a balanced diet and exercise to reduce excess weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
2. Avoid stress and stress-inducing situations. Stress is one of the major causes of headaches and other health problems. Practice mindfulness and meditation to counter stress. Breathing exercises also help with anxiety and stressful situations
3. Schedule your activities and follow through. Allocating time for work and other activities will help you plan your day/week and will reduce stressful situations significantly. Also, schedule time to rest and unwind.
4. Drink plenty of water especially when working. It is easy to forget about water when you are engrossed in something. Some headaches have been found to be caused by lack of water in the body. Always stay hydrated at all times. Have a water flask nearby or on your desk. There are also wonderful apps you can download for free that will remind you to take water at certain intervals.
5. Eat a balanced breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and for a good reason. It will set the mood for the rest of the day.
6. Live a comfortable life and do what makes you happy. If your job environment is unfriendly or you are in an unhealthy relationship, you will have headaches constantly. Decide what works for you and pursue it. This may mean that there are some things that you have to let go.
7. Make time to have a full body checkup at least twice a year, after six months. There may be underlying problems causing your headaches.
8. If the headaches do not subside, you may have a deeper problem than headaches from computer use. See a specialist for further checkup.