Cell Phone Migraine : Can mobile phones cause headaches and migraines?

Cell Phone - Migraine: An Introduction

Mobile phones are not merely a part of our lives in today’s world. They are our constant companions. Whether it's to stay connected with our friends and family or to keep ourselves updated on important developments around the world, gone are the days when mobiles were used for only sending a text or making a call. From budget to state-of-the-art smartphones; double to triple cameras; O-LED to Gorilla Glass screens; there are numerous options to choose from.




But, there are always two sides to a coin

Needless to say, technology comes with its side effects too. Several studies have stated that Mobile phone users who spend long hours on their favorite gadgets report symptoms of migraines, headaches, and other symptoms, including dizziness, neck pain, shoulder pain, eye strain, trouble concentrating, tremors, and even stomachaches.

While some studies suggest that mobile phone use causes only migraines and are not linked to other headaches, there is strong evidence that links excessive use of mobile phones with a variety of symptoms, including non-migrainous headaches.

Cell Phone and Migraine: How does a Cell Phone induce migraine?


 Before setting out on the journey to find remedial measures to a problem, it is recommended that we first understand the problem from inside out. There are a variety of reasons, some of them being.

1. First and foremost, the intensity and frequency of migraines experienced by a person is linked directly to the number of hours that he/she spends on his smartphone.

 With an increasing number of features that are available in smartphones today, it is but natural to be glued to the screens for long, which causes the pains.

2. According to a study conducted by two Jerusalem based researchers, Zvi Weinberger and Dr. Elihu Richter, the brain absorbs 40% of the radiation that is emitted by mobile phones.

 According to them, a mobile phone broadcasts specifically at frequencies at which the human head serves as an antenna and the brain tissue serves as a demodulating radio receiver. The result, constant and recurring severe headaches.

3. Apart from this, Zurich based scientists have conducted a study which reveals that the Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMI) which is emitted by the mobile phone greatly alters brain activity.

The blood flow increases in the area of the brain which is nearest to the mobile. This is one of the major causes of people experience migraines due to mobile use.

4. Not only mobile phones alone, even cell towers, which are erected for seamless connectivity of networks has been found to cause migraines and nausea.

A study by three Dutch-based ministries carried out the study on the next-gen (3G) network towers. They were amazed to find out that cell towers emit continuous radiation which is known to cause migraines.

5. You might have heard about the blue light phenomenon related to mobile phones. This is emitted in large quantities by our smartphones. New Research has found out that the lens inside the eye, and the pigment which is in the back of the eye, do offer some protection against blue light.

But this protective mechanism can only last for a short period of exposure to the intense blue light, and during daylight hours only.

Henceforth, if mobile phones are used long just before going to bed, the blue light hampers the circadian rhythms and there is difficulty in sleeping. Lesser and improper sleeping patterns, in turn, lead to more dangerous migraines.


 Symptoms of Mobile Induced Migraines 


 Mobile phone use involves many factors that can result in headaches and migraines which include looking at the light on the screen, bending over in a stooped posture, using your hands and fingers to type to play games, straining your eyes, and something as simple as using the phone to make phone calls.

I am mentioning some of the symptoms experienced by people which can be a signal for migraines:

1. Eye strain: Primarily symptom of an underlying and more problematic condition is eye-strain. If there is a stinging pain in your eyes while looking at the mobile screen, it can mean you are prone to induced migraine from a mobile phone.

2. Dizziness: Many people who experience migraines from mobile phones have reported instances of them feeling dizzy just before the headache or during the headache.

3. Nausea: If you start feeling nauseated while using the mobile phone even for a little feel, you may be at risk of experiencing mobile induced migraine.

4. Recurring headaches: If your headache refuses to go, even after taking medicines and keeps increasing in severity, you might be at risk of mobile phone induced migraine.


How to curtail the damage done to our eyes and the risk of migraines? 


With the causes of migraines by long mobile use clearly listed, most of us will now be interested in methods of controlling or reducing the risk of migraines through mobile phone use. 

So here I have curated a list of simple hacks which everyone can implement in order to be healthy and reduce the migraine risk by mobile phones. These are:

1. First and foremost is adjusting the phone settings to filter out the blue light. On the iPhone, it can be done by turning on the night shift mode. 

For Android, there is an app available on play store which goes by the name of Flux. All-in-all, you need to adjust the color temperature to the ‘warm’ range in order to get a good night’s sleep.

2. One can also reduce the migraine risk by adjusting the brightness level of the screen. Although it might sound ineffective, it is very helpful in the long run. 

Always keep in mind to adjust the brightness to a high level when you are sitting in a brightly lit (or Open) space, and to a low level when you are sitting in a dark room. Play with the brightness set to arrive at an optimum and comfortable level.

3. Another step to reduce the onset of migraines by disabling the auto rotate feature. The auto rotate feature can be both irritating and migraine-inducing. All the mobile phones come with an option to disable it. Simply swipe down from the top to turn off autorotation.

4. It may sound simple but sometimes, setting a single-color or minimalistic features background wallpaper can go a long way in helping reduce the migraine risk from mobile phone screens.

 Have you ever wondered why sometimes it becomes really difficult to read when you have just changed the wallpaper because the image makes the menu screen cluttered? Well, there is a simple solution to that. So, always keep the wallpaper image simple and minimalistic design.

5. Next step in our guide to preventing migraines from mobile screens is to utilize voice-search option which is now being provided by almost all the companies.

 If you are an android user, simply say “hello google” and the voice assistant will pop-up. For iPhone, hold down the home button, or say “Hey Siri” and Siri will be at your disposal. You can thus reduce your screen time to navigate to your tasks faster.

6. Another simple but useful remedial measure to reduce the risk of migraines is by using anti-glare screen covers. Although it is not proven, some screen guard manufacturing companies do advertise about their products being able to reduce the harsh effect inducing glare and protecting your eyes.


7. Another important step to reduce the migraine-inducing effect of mobile phones is wearing your glasses. In many cases, increased frequency of severe and recurring headaches has been reported by people who used their mobile phones without putting on their glasses. 

This is not advisable as if have been prescribed to wear glasses and you are not wearing them, you are only increasing the burden on your eyes.

8. Last but not least, increasing the font size on your mobile screen can go a long way in reducing the risk of migraines due to mobile phone use. The reason is that smaller letters make it hard to focus on the contents of the screen, thus resulting in increased frequency of headaches and eye strain. 

Conclusion

While we take pride to proclaim that technology has taken humanity to great heights and improved the standards of living, we often overlook the health hazards which it has created. A recent study has found out that Children who are exposed to cell phone use (radiation from the mother’s cellphone usage) prior to birth were just as likely to have headaches as children who used mobile phones during the first seven years of their childhood. This brings to light a glaring hazard staring us in our faces. Hence, the need of the hour is to shield ourselves from mobile induced migraines by following the above-mentioned tips.

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