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Triggers

Screens and Reading

  • By nas123

    Hi, after finding that avoiding computer, TV, cell phones and reading helps me feel a lot better I have had a hard time being able to add these things back into my life. I wear fl41 glasses and stand most of the time when watching TV which helps, but I have a much harder time on computers, and playing videogames is a very strong trigger. I will be going back to my neuro ophthalmologist soon and I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I have gone to a vision therapist and they wanted to work with me more on accomidation of my eyes or convergence, I can’t remember for sure, but they also said anybody off the street could have similar test results as me without headaches and insurance doesn’t cover it. Also they said I had an astigmatism, but the prescription glasses I had made up even though the eye doctor didn’t think they would help enough that I would use them supposedly should of already helped that and the glasses don’t seem to make any difference. I also seem to be extra sensitive to LED computer and TV screens. I wonder if it is somehow related to motion sickness because of videogames being such a strong trigger and moving menus on screens and watching sports it can seem like my eyes just want to give up. Exertion headache seems to also be a strong trigger. My headaches started a few years ago when working on the computer all the time in an application that moves around in a similar perspective as a first person video game. Also I had a head injury where I seem to have been unconcious for a few seconds, but it was at least a year before I started getting headaches at this job. On a recent cruise I had motion sickness symptoms that seemed similar in some ways to my headache symptoms, but not in other. Now as long as I avoid a lot of things I just have neck tension, but it is very limiting. Any suggestions are really appreciated.

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  • By nas123

    I forgot my physical therapist has also told me I clench my teeth at night which seems to be causing issues with my cervical vertabrae so I am working on loosening up the jaw muscles and testing out a nightguard to see if it makes any difference. I don’t know if this would be having any effect on my eye muscles, etc. or not. Also the parallax effect on ios7 on the iphone 5s seemed to terrible for me as a trigger while I read it caused motion sickness type symptoms for people.

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  • By Kerrie Smyres Moderator

    Motion sickness is common in people with migraine and what you describe is a trigger for a lot of people.

    Check to see if your LED screens are dimmed. LEDs can only be completely on or completely off. They pulse on and off to simulate dimming. These causes a flicker that is undetectable to the human eye, but the brain can still pick it up. Keep your LED screens at full brightness to avoid this issue. If it is too bright, try adjusting the white balance to find a more comfortable display.

    You might also want to try an eye patch to see if that helps. That helps with convergence issues.

    These things may not help with motion-related problems, like with video games, but they may make general computer use more comfortable.

    And if you still have an iOS device, there’s an update that allows you to turn off parallax and reduce motion. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion to turn on the setting.

    Good luck. Please let us know how it goes.

    Kerrie

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    • By nas123

      Thanks for the insight. My neuro opthamalogist said my eyes were fine, but trying the cheap rubbery mouth guard my dentist made for me again seems to have helped my neck loosen up some as well as a more supportive pillow and trying to cut out hard foods to chew such as casava chips and hard semase seed crackers. I haven’t worn the nightguard lately because it was making it harder to sleep, but still doing pretty good. I’ve tried accupuncture again lately and will be talking to my dentist about jaw issues again. If I use my phone I only use it for a real short time and I’ve done alright. I really wonder if clenching my jaw has caused the problems with my cervical vertabrae (c1,c2) and if thats really the cause behind my headaches in the first place. I seem to also have a lot of tightness in my lower back and pelvis which may be affecting my seated posture, etc.

      thanks

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  • By GardensatNight

    Has anyone tried any options to help with using the computer? I have noticed some improvement in my headaches over the last few days (yay, only 6 hours of headache yesterday!) after starting my new medication and in trying to pin down triggers, I have been staying inside and avoiding the sun (I have always been VERY sensitive to light/sunlight and strong sunlight makes me nauseated even when it doesn’t immediately trigger a migraine.) Well, over the past few days as I’ve started to have some pain free hours, which hasn’t happened in awhile, I’ve been trying to look for patterns in what makes my head start getting tight/sore and what doesn’t. When I start using my computer, within like 5-10 minutes my head starts hurting. When I put it away, it predictably goes away within the same time period. Fortunately, my job doesn’t require just a TON of computer work, probably less than an hour total per day, but I do like to surf the web for fun at home. My kindle screen doesn’t hurt at all. TV doesn’t seem to hurt, although I’m farther away. Reading a book doesn’t seem to hurt, so I don’t think it’s my eyes; I think it’s something about the computer screen.

    Would some kind of glasses help? I googled “migraine glasses” and a link popped up for “Theraspecs.” Has anyone used those? They’re a little pricey, but certainly if they would help, it would be worth it. There are flourescent lights at work and my head does tend to hurt worse there than at home. Any other tips for still being able to use the computer? Limiting time isn’t the end of the world, just looking for options.

    Thank you!

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  • By nas123

    I have FL-41 tinted glasses, but not from that specific company. I got mine through a local eye glass business in the greater Seattle area my neuro opthamalogist suggested and I’m not totally sure if they help, but I’ve done pretty well with them so I wear them when I’m at home watching TV or looking at any screens. I believe the Theraspecs are supposed to be FL-41 also,but I don’t have specific experience with their product. LED backlights for screens, refresh rates and brightness seem to be factors to consider as well. Hope this helps!

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  • By GardensatNight

    Yes, light seems to be one of the hugest things for me, and really, one of the triggers most impeding me from being able to live a semi-normal life. I’ve cut out foods and that hasn’t been a huge deal–there’s still plenty of things I can eat. Getting used to the medication isn’t so bad. But having to stay indoors all the time and getting sick any time we try to travel by car anywhere lately if it’s sunny out, even if my husband drives, is kind of trapping us in the house. Plus, I used to love gardening! :(. I probably will have to cut back on time outdoors regardless, although being able to be on the computer is one of those fun indoor activities. The glasses are a little pricey, but if they worked at reducing the strain/risk of triggering a headache they would be well worth it to me. I’m just trying to find some people who’ve really tried them and had success before I take the plunge!

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  • By GardensatNight

    I talked to my doctor today. She said to try the special lenses for the computer and also polarized ones for outdoors. She also said to try getting a screen to stick to the computer to cut down on glare, which we’re going to try tonight. Ugh, it’s so frustrating having one more thing to fix! I think that’s the scariest thing about the darn migraines… they keep getting worse…

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  • By GardensatNight

    She may very well be right. I will say that after my neurologist said to try the polarized ones, I borrowed my husband’s polarized sunglasses as soon as he got home and tried them while using the computer and it totally works! No headache at all! We tried going outside and it was interesting because looking forward wearing the glasses wasn’t a problem, but light leaking in through the sides was, so I’m interested in the ones they have that would completely shield light–that might work for me.

    Did you notice your light sensitivity developed over time, or was it always there? With me it’s strange, I started having migraines about 5 years ago, once a month at first, then only about a month or so ago the migraines got really bad, and then it’s only been the past week where I’ve noticed the heightened sensitivity to the computer. It’s funny… I’ve been a bit sensitive to sunlight for awhile, but like we’re talking if I stared directly into the sun while driving for like half an hour I would feel nauseated. Then a week or two ago I couldn’t even make the walk to the car or the 15 minute ride home without getting a headache. And then the screens problem quickly followed, and that had never been an issue before.

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  • By Pendragon

    For me, personally, I found that my light sensitivity came on suddenly. I was walking back inside from my car and suddenly found I couldn’t tolerate the lights. After a couple of days of walking around basically with my eyes closed (hoping it would go away – denial, I do that sometimes), I put on a pair of sunglasses. They helped a bit, but I ended up buying a new pair which wrapped around my face a bit better and were polarized. They help to a certain extent, mean I can mostly function normally. Have been wondering about these FL-41 glasses since I heard about them though.

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  • By GardensatNight

    Yes, I haven’t left the house in three days now, and then only to be driven to work. My drive to work isn’t very far, so I feel like I could deal with the fogging if I could regain the freedom to drive or ride in a car again without it triggering a headache/migraine the rest of the day. It would be nice to be able to go out to dinner or go see family on days when I’m feeling good instead of being trapped in the house.

    I think I am going to try the FL-41 glasses first and see what those do for me at work and on the computer, and then depending on how effective they are, make a decision on whether to go with the polarized or outdoor lenses for outdoor glasses, and then get like an indestructible case for them since they are a bit pricey!

    Did anyone’s light sensitivity ever improve? My neurologist wondered if it might get better as the medications she’s put me on build up in my system. Admittedly, I am starting to *feel* better overall on the medications and have more headache free days, but then the sensitivity getting worse seems like a sign at least one area isn’t really improving. I also wondered if it could be due to any of the vitamins she’s put me on. She has me taking an ungodly dose of Riboflavin, which is research-supported to help, but I wonder if it’s doing something wonky to my eyes, or if that’s just the migraines.

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  • By GardensatNight

    One thing we tried this afternoon that helped was switching the “view” of my computer completely over so that everything appears in black with the type a nice soft rose color. Maybe that’s so obvious everyone already does it, but it’s made it where I can at least surf the net or write for a few minutes before the discomfort starts to set in–and that’s something!

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  • By Ree Leeds

    In order for me to use a computer I must set a timer for 25 minute intervals and take breaks or else I get a migraine. Although I use polarized glasses outside I must limit myself to the brightness of the sunshine of living at the seashore. Abundant sunshine for hours guarantees me a bad headache.

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  • By Lisa Robin Benson Moderator

    I have worn Theraspecs for a few years now (they are the FL-41 tint) and they help me a lot. I have also found I still need to take breaks, limit my computer time when possible, and some flashing lights such as found in video games can still trigger no matter what kind of glasses I am wearing. Nas123, there is a possible link between motion sickness and migraine, as well as head injury and migraine.

    This article mentions motion sickness:
    https://migraine.com/blog/driving-migraine-trigger/

    This article is about the link between head or neck injury and migraine:
    https://migraine.com/migraine-causes/neck-or-head-injury/

    I hope this info helps.
    Be well,
    Lisa

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    • By nas123

      Thanks for the information Lisa. As an update I have been feeling pretty good lately and continue to try new ways to keep getting better. I got an NTI night guard which seems to help my neck and shoulder muscles loosen up some during the night. I’m able to exercise and lift weights more while I still try to be cautious and adjust if I feel like I am tightening up my neck during weight lifting, etc. I am now not wondering about motion sickness as much as it seems my issues are more just with my neck and posture.

      I have been going to a chiropractor who told me my biggest issue is with my mid-back. I think it would be considered hyper-lordosis of the thoracic spine, which then affects the neck, head forward posture and low back being overly arched. While still not sure how much the different things I’ve been doing help I keep making some progress so I stick with them. Sitting using a lumbar pillow seemed to help my back and neck not hurt for extended sitting, but my legs were driving me crazy with tightness and discomfort above the knee cap. My pediatrist seemed to think with my custom orthotics I shouldn’t be having this kind of discomfort as I also get a variety of issues if I wear any other shoes than some Brooks motion control shoes. Sitting on hard chairs seems to really irritate my legs and make them feel tight and antsy. I am trying to strengthen my low back as much as possible since my physical therapist said that was my biggest issue. I try to take the different points of view and do what I can with them. I feel like I haven’t found much advise online from people who have issues sitting to watch TV or working on a computer and what they have done to fix it. I am using a do it yourself standing desk right now which seems to work okay, but I still end up with a sore back and tight neck and shoulder on one side.

      Other than that I feel like a lot of my issues could have been helped a lot faster if I knew then what I do now and want to find ways to help others in similar situations. If anyone has any suggestions on ways to better help others figure out their own triggers or other questions that come up with migraine, I am interested.

      Thanks in advance

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    • By DT456

      nas123 I came across this posting, as I’m going through the same thing trying to figure out what might be the issue. Looks like an old posting. But if you’re still a member on this site would appreciate an update on how you’re are doing and if you pin pointed the issue.

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    • By nick1olaef

      Hi, i have had migraines for a while, on and off. For about 6 years i now can’t read books without triggering a pressure in my forehead area and eventually migraine. However recently sensitivity to phone screen and computer screen just appeared virtually overnight for me – it comes immediately within seconds of me looking at a screen, and doesn’t go away until i stop looking at a screen. I have ordered TheraSpecs to see if these make any difference, however this is extremely debilitating and frustrating. Any tips for how others managed to deal with this would be really appreciated

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    • By GardensatNight

      Hi Nick,

      Sorry you’re going through this. I am extremely light sensitive as well and have extreme sensitivity to screens, much like you are describing. I, too, wear FL-41 lenses on the advice of one of my neuro-opthamologists. They haven’t helped the screen issue, and a different neuro-opthamologist admits they don’t help everyone. I hope you are one of the people they help.

      I do not have a solution for a phone or a TV. I’m not sure anything exists on the market for that at this time. Hubs says you can turns down the brightness/blue on your phone at night, but if you’re triggered right away, not sure how much that will help in the long run. I cannot use a phone or watch TV at all without immediate severe pain. Haven’t tried in four years.

      There are lots of adapted computer screens for light sensitive people. There are filters you can attach to your existing screen. We tried a stick-on filter, which did nothing. I’ve heard others say there are some heavy duty filters, but I don’t have experience using those so can’t speak to them. They make LED screens that don’t refresh as often and can have the blue turned down. I tried one of those by ViewSonic and it was less painful than a regular screen, as in, I could tolerate it for 15 minutes (which for me, is something), but it still gave me a migraine. What I use is an E-ink screen that emits no light and doesn’t flicker at all. Those are the two factors that get you with screens–light and flicker/refresh. I have used three different E-ink screens. The second one we used to use was the Dasung Paperlike. It’s a secondary screen, which means you always have to boot it up from a primary screen (or be good at using a screen reader.) The screen I’m using now is by Boox and called Max2. It’s a primary screen so it works independently, and can also function as a tablet and do lots of cool stuff. I am extremely happy with it. On both, we had to play with the contrast (these are BW screens) to get it sharp since the rest of the world sees in color, not grayscale. But it’s nice to be able to interact with the world.

      I don’t know where you live. If you are in the US and cannot use your eyes to read without pain, you can apply by state to the NLS to receive books on tape. Your doctor signs the form. You can download them at home, or have cartridges mailed to you free of charge. I haven’t been able to read without pain for several years now, and still being able to access books is a comfort. I was really glad when someone else on this site told me about NLS.

      https://www.loc.gov/nls/

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    • By DT456

      Going through the same problem with computer screens, TV, iphones, which started three months ago. I was using these devices all the time prior. There’s free software callled f.lux that you can reduce the blue light on your computer, which seems to help a little but still not enough. I’m hoping this condition improves with time. Reviews at https://glarminy.com/2015/02/06/f-lux-software-reduce-glare-on-computer-screen-sleep-better-and/

      Still not sure what the solution is for iphones.

      For glasses I tried the F-41 lense. Dont’ make enough of a difference for me. This site has a lense tester kit that allows you to see what filters for glasses might help before spending money on new lenses with filters.. https://glarminy.com/blue-filter-tester/

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    • By GardensatNight

      This software is certainly worth trying, especially since it’s free. Blue light is an irritant for most migraine brains. But it may only address half the issue of why a screen is irritating–and even that part incompletely. If only glare is a factor, it should work. But if LED or fluorescent light is a trigger, the screen will still be emitting it… plus the software does nothing to address flicker, which is a major irritant. Another in my graveyard of screens was a screen that flickered/refreshed like regular screens, but emitted no man-made light–it only reflected ambient light. It was still headache-inducing because even though there was zero glare, and the only kind of light I was getting was natural light, the screen was still flickering.

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  • By Anonymous

    I find computers can trigger a migrane, for me its the screen brightness or concentration for too long or something, fresh air helps, I kind of believe caffeine and chocolate arent much help with regards to migrane and some curry food can trigger maybe too, too much of anything strong and rich foods , drinks , spices etc . too much heat or cold weather or sudden change of tempeture can set it off aswell , or just stress , sorry in general, its a case of learning to manage and control the symptoms but at the same time not worry , I find educating myself on these issues help me understand myself better and therefore I dont need to worry because I understand more. someone actually mentioned lenses before to me with regards their own head aches and I didnt really take much notice then but now I find different colour lenses have a big effect, I experiment with different colours and its amazing the difference to the feeling in the head wearing them. sounds funny how migranes affects peoples lives, I would think if you never experience them you might think the person is making up all the symptoms or something, sounds kind of crazy in a way haha, but it feels far more serious to deal with when you have to. these glasses you speak of here sound very interesting.

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