Smartphones may make your headaches worse, study finds

(CNN)If you think the time spent on your smartphone could be contributing to a relentless headache, you might be right, a new study finds.

That was the possible case for a group of subjects in India who were studied to determine the association between smartphone use and new headaches, or increased severity. Although there are anecdotal stories suggesting a link between technology use and pain, there is limited evidence on the relationship between smartphones and pain, the report said.
The researchers studied 400 people with a primary headache condition, which includes migraines, tension headaches and other types not caused by another illness. After asking the participants about their smartphone use, headache history and medication use, they found that smartphone users were more likely to use more pain medication but find less relief compared to those who didn't use smartphones.
    "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," said Dr. Deepti Vibha, study author and associate neurology professor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
    While the research, which published Wednesday in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, doesn't conclude whether smartphones cause headaches, it does add to a body of knowledge that questions the health effects of smartphones as we become increasingly more reliant on them to fulfill daily tasks.

    The connection between smartphones and pain

    At a care center in India, participants were split into two groups: those who didn't use a mobile device or used one that had only calling features, and those who used smartphones.
    The participants then answered questionnaires assessing their smartphone use and their history of headache symptoms.
    After comparing the questionnaires, the researchers found that 96% of smartphone users were more likely to take pain-relieving drugs compared to 81% of non-smartphone users. Smartphone users also reported less relief from headaches after taking medication, with 84% finding moderate or complete relief from headache pain compared to 94% of non-users.
    Smartphone users also reported a higher occurrence of aura, which describes a warning sensation experienced before an attack of epilepsy or migraine, compared to non-smartphone users.
    There was no difference between the two groups in how often headaches occurred, how long they lasted or how severe they were.
    And while smartphone users in the current study had a harder time recovering from headaches, the study did not determine whether the severity was due to excessive smartphone use. Additionally, the study did not follow the participants over time to observe changes related to smartphone use.

    Searching for a cause

    While the study