Your Headaches Explained: What’s Causing Them And What To Do About Them

Many of us are suffering from headaches after a pronlonged period of time spent working from home

Eye strain

by Grazia |

If you're suddenly suffering from headaches like never before it could be down to working from home. There are a number of triggers associated with a working from home environment that could be causing your headaches. Take eye strain for example. According to a recent study, searches for eye strain have increased by 60% in the last few months. It’s no wonder considering the amount of time many of us are spending at home. Subscriptions to video streaming services have increased by a notable 15%, whilst, for those still in work, meetings have moved from the boardroom to Zoom, and for everyone, get togethers with friends and families for a long time took place purely via video call. In short our lives are being lived far more through screens than they ever were before. It’s unsurprising then, that there has been a rise in cases of eye strain. Symptoms include sore, watery or dry eyes, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and most noticeably, headaches.

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For Boots Opticians Senior Clinical Services Manager, Kyla Black, there are a number of things we can be doing at home to avoid headaches caused by eye strain…

Take Frequent Breaks

‘Viewing faces and expressions on a screen will likely mean we are now focussing at a much closer range than we’re used to. It is important to take regular breaks and allow our eyes to look beyond the screen and relax. Apply the 20-20-20 rule every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That will give your eye muscles a break.’

eye strain
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Adjust Your Screen Position

‘Position your screen at least 40cm away from your eyes, the further the better. It is advisable to keep paper documents at the same range as your screen.’

Blink Frequently

‘We tend to blink less frequently when concentrating or looking at screens.’ Remember to blink regularly and if you are affected by dry eyes, consider lubricating drops.

Adjust Your Lighting

‘Lighting in your new home office should be set at a level that allows documents and screens to be read easily – consider using an angle poise lamp to achieve this. Try to close the blinds or curtains on any windows reflected on your screen.’

Switch From Contacts To Glasses

‘Wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time can cause dry eyes which can become uncomfortable and lead to more frequent touching and rubbing of the eyes. If you find that you’re eyes are becoming dry, switch to wearing glasses while in front of the screen.’

Headaches Caused By Muscle Tension

If eye strain isn't a problem for you then it is likely that your headaches are caused by muscle tension. Muscle tension can accrue becuse of stress, shallow breathing, poor posture and teeth grinding (something many of us do when concentrating or when stressed). Teeth gringing and jaw clenching (a process called bruxism) is very often linked to stress and anxiety - something we've all been subject to in the midst of 2020. Jaw tension links through to tension in the facial muscles, muscles in the neck, and consequently headaches so it's important to tackle it and there's a very simply way to go about doing so.

A Very Simple Trick To Cut Out Tension In Your Jaw

According to cosmetic dentist Dr Krystyna Wilczynski of White & Co Dental there's a very simple route to training yourself not to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. 'If you notice that you clench or grind during the day,' she says, 'position the tip of your toungue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.' She also mentions some jaw exercises that help ease tension when practised regularly too. 'You can do this by placing your fingers on the top of your front four bottom teeth. Slowly pull down until you feel slight discomfort on the tight side of your jaw. Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly release your jaw back to the starting position.'

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