Screen time and migraines: Coping tips for the whole family

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:13 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - In the United States, nearly 39 million people, amounting to 12% of the population, experience migraines.  Up to 28% of teens and 10% of all school age children between the ages of 15-19 live with migraines, and 37% of children find that their schoolwork suffers during a migraine. Since the onset of the pandemic, records numbers of Americans are working and learning from home. That means more screen time comes with more headaches.

Neurologist Dr. Jennifer McVige, who is the mother to two teenagers with migraines, joined NewsChannel 7 at 4′s Deep Bench on Tuesday, to discuss migraines and their triggers.

A migraine is different than just a bad headache. Migraines can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Dr. McVige said some of the most common triggers are stress, sleep irregularity, not eating enough and not hydrating enough. Some triggers that may surprise you include processed foods, MSG and caffeine.

Dr. McVige said you can avoid a potential migraine trigger by turning down the backlight on the computer, laptop or other device you may be using. Blue light glasses are another option. Also, she suggested to rely on more ambient light, like sunshine through the window, instead of fluorescent light.

She also talked about nerivio, the first drug-free therapy that’s been approved by the FDA. It’s a wearable device that’s a conditioned pain modulation response. It brings down the severity of the pain.

“It’s a great development, especially for our young people,” Dr. McVige said.

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