Blue light from a computer screen surrounds a woman slouching in a chair.

Was Working On My Computer Increasing My Migraine Frequency?

So, there are stretches of time I feel like everything is a migraine trigger. I laugh too much and, well…get a migraine. Cry too hard — oops, there goes a migraine. Spent time on my computer, and boom! Migraine. In some cases, it’s a one-time occurrence, and laughing at my husband’s jokes won't actually trigger my head pain again and again. (Even when his jokes are bad.) However, I did start to notice a pattern when spending time on my computer. Was it triggering more migraines for me?

How much time do I spend on my computer?

I do all my work on my computer, so you could say I spend a good amount of time there. Whether I’m answering emails or working on a new writing project, my computer screen is my home base for all the things. I learned early on, I needed to take a 10-minute screen break every hour or so or my body wouldn't revolt. Getting up to stretch, walk, and rest my eyes made a difference in my shoulder aches and my migraine aches. But suddenly these tricks weren’t working anymore.

What does research say about computer screens?

I’d read all the research - while sitting in front of my brightly lit, blue light-emitting computer screen and it goes something like this: All modern screens emit blue light which is the highest energy color of the light spectrum. When we get too much of this it can cause problems — like maybe me having more migraines. But the question remained: Was sitting at my computer upping the frequency of my migraines? And why hadn’t this happened before?

Is it my migraine trigger?

So, I did what I always do when trying to decipher a new migraine trigger - I started a migraine diary. I looked for a pattern and it didn't take long to discover that sitting in front of my computer for longer than 2 hours was making migraines happen. I felt defeated. How in the world could I avoid this trigger when I had work deadlines to meet? It was almost impossible for me to write words that made sense when dealing with a full-blown migraine. So (in short increments) I did some more research on a brightly lit computer screen and made some changes.

What changes have I made?

First, I went to the eye doctor. We discovered I have a slight astigmatism and glasses would help ease some of my eye strain. My doctor also suggested anti-glare glasses that help block the brightness and blue light of the computer. Next, I set my desk up in the economically correct way to support my body. Now, I sit upright, with my feet flat on the floor, and have adjusted my keyboard so my wrists are flat and my elbows bend at a 90-degree angle. This takes the pressure off of my neck and shoulders. My migraine diary (and my head) shows that these changes pretty much eliminated working at my computer as a migraine trigger. My breaks from the screen still support my head and body, and it's good to know that sometimes not everything is a trigger for a migraine to begin.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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