A major healthcare company has just released a new pain-relief medication specifically targeting “digital headache.” But is it a real thing?
Surging, pandemic-related screen-time has sparked a rise in “digital eyestrain and device fatigue” - problems that are particularly acute among millennials - according to US-based DSE Healthcare Solutions.
Its new over-the-counter medication, Vanquish Digital Headache, a combination of acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), aspirin and caffeine, claims to address “the headache, neck, eye and shoulder pain that can result from heavy screen-time.”
What is a "digital headache"?
What, exactly is a “digital headache”? According to DSE it’s a “modern form of headache” that is distinct from a tension headache or a cluster headache. “Digital headaches have a clear cause,” it maintains, “and a clear solution.”
No medical research is offered as evidence for this statement.
Instead, DSE points headache sufferers to a “Digital Fatigue” quiz on its website, featuring questions like “Do you take breaks when you are on the computer for more than two hours?”
“Do you use multiple screens and devices at the same time?” “Do you work with your laptop in your lap?” and “Do you stare at a screen while in bed?”
A disclaimer warns that the quiz is “meant to be informational only and should not substitute for a consultation with a physician.”
Are headaches actually increasing?
The makers of Vanquish Digital Headache reference a report cited by the National Headache Foundation showing a link between rising screen-time and neurological symptoms during the pandemic.
But that study - which was itself funded by a company that makes therapeutic glasses for migraine and light sensitivity - looked specifically at individuals who self-identified as having a neurological disorder.
Among that population, more than 75% told researchers their screen-time had increased significantly - with one-third reporting an extra five or more hours a day. Of that 75%, two-thirds were experiencing a rise in headache pain, light sensitivity and dizziness.
But was screen-time solely to blame?
Is screen-time the only culprit?
Other factors that likely contributed, according to specialists consulted for the study, included stress from stay-home-orders, disruptions in sleep and dietary changes.
Medical professionals advise that headaches that appear to be screen-related are commonly the result of eye-strain and should be investigated by a physician.
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