A headache is a headache, right?
Did you know that there are 150 types of headaches? They include tension-type headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and hormone headaches with each having a list of causes and treatments that work specifically for that type of a headache.
Tension-type headaches are the most common type of a headache among adults and teens. They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time and usually have no other symptoms.
Migraines are often, but not always, intense headaches and are described as pounding throbbing pain. They happen often, anywhere from one to four times a month. With the pain there are other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea and/or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or belly pain.
Cluster headaches are intense and feel like a burning or piercing pain behind or around one eye. On the side of the pain the eyelid droops, the eye reddens, the pupil gets smaller. They tend to happen in groups with people getting them one to three times per day with each headache lasting 15 minutes to 3 hours.
So what is a “tech neck” headache?
“Tech neck” headache falls under the tension headache and is reasonably easy to deal with. The cause of “tech neck” headaches is the strain being placed on the neck muscles as you bend your head forward to look at your mobile device. The headache begins as a dull, aching head pain with a sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head, and there may be tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles.
Why do these headaches occur?
According to Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitative Medicine, they happen because of the strain on your neck as you bend your head forward to view your mobile device.
When your spine is in a neutral position, with the head aligned with neck and aligned with your spine, the head weighs about 10 pounds. At 15 degrees forward, the neck is now holding 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it is holding 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it is holding 60 pounds. That is 60 pounds of weight held by the neck muscles that are meant to hold 10 pounds. That much of a load can do a lot of damage over time.
If you are experiencing neck soreness with headaches while using your mobile device, now is a good time to take notice and begin taking breaks from your smartphone or tablet. And, to prevent these types of headaches, be aware of your posture, sit or stand straight with your shoulders back while you use your phone.
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