If you have raging headaches and you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, a new study suggests you might want to put your phone down whenever you can.

Researchers found that folks who use their smartphones frequently and have headaches or migraines also tend to need to take more medications than those with headaches who do not have smartphones.

Of course, this study can’t prove that it’s the smartphone that makes your headache worse, only that it might, the researchers said. And one headache expert said the study raises more questions than it answers.

“Although the cause of association of headache with smartphone use is not clear, this study finds an association of smartphone use in headache patients in terms of increased pill count and less relief with painkillers,” said lead researcher Dr. Deepti Vibha. She’s an associate professor in the department of neurology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India.

The report was published online March 4 in the journal Neurology Clinical Practice.

Dr. Heidi Moawad, of the department of medical education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, co-authored an editorial accompanying the new report. She said, “These results raise an important issue because people rely so heavily on mobile devices.”

The findings may prompt some people to try to cut back on using their smartphone, but that can be unrealistic for many people, even those who suffer from headaches, Moawad said.

“It’s likely that the devices will be modified so that they can provide the same convenience without causing problems like headaches, eye strain or neck pain. Who knows — maybe the technology will even be modified in a way that helps improve these issues,” Moawad added.

For the study, Vibha and her colleagues collected data on 400 people with various types of headaches, including migraine and tension headaches. Participants were asked about their smartphone use, headaches and medications. In all, 206 used smartphones.


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