Why do I get headaches from using the computer for long periods of time?

Given the amount of time people spend reading, working on computers, watching TV and playing video games, many people believe that eyestrain causes their headaches.

  • Other factors involved in TV/computer related headaches include posture, stress and long periods of concentration.
  • Rarely is eyestrain itself the sole cause of headaches. If eyestrain is suspected, the first step is a complete ophthalmological exam.
  • Take frequent short breaks including stretching your neck, arms and back while watching TV or using the computer.
  • Try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Eyestrain may be a trigger for migraine or tension-type headaches.

Headaches can be caused from a variety of reasons. One of the common contributors that is sometimes overlooked is poor posture. Being seated at a computer for extended periods of time can often lead to what is known as a forward head posture. This posture can cause compression of the 2nd cervical nerve of the neck (aka C-2), which will eventually cause headaches. To avoid this phenomenon, try positioning your computer screen at eye level and take frequent rest breaks. It may also be beneficial to perform neck stretches and chin tucks to relieve the compression to the nerve and surrounding structures.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.