If you’re anything like me, then growing up playing video games you were met with comments such as “Those games will give you square eyes!” or “Don’t play them so much or you’ll get a headache”.
While at the time, we ignored this and just wanted to play video games, maybe there was some truth to what the adults were saying. I’m sure many of you are wondering, can you get a headache from video games? Perhaps.. Let’s dive in and find out!
A headache is a completely normal and common condition that everyone can expect to experience multiple times in their lives. It can be either throbbing or constant, and either sharp or dull. Neither of which are pleasant.
Headaches are not to be confused with migraines or cluster headaches as these are much much worse and last for an insanely long period of time.
A very simple answer is yes. Prolonged periods of playing video games can indeed give you a headache.
There are a lot of reasons why video games can lead to headaches, ranging from stress all the way to motion sickness.
Stress-induced headaches are caused by getting stresses out with a game and unnecessarily clenching your jaw muscles and other facial muscles. This unneeded tension can radiate pain around your head which can then cause a headache. Those who get stressed out from video games are also at risk of chipped teeth due to clenching their jaw muscles.
Motion sickness is where your mind knows that you are seated and still, but the information it is receiving says otherwise. As an example, if you are sitting in a chair playing a game, but your video game character is riding a horse, it would be expected that your mind is confused as it is receiving all the information that makes it think you are riding the horse instead.
While that example may be somewhat of a hyperbole, motion sickness leads to headaches, dizziness, and nausea, or even make you feel sick.
RSI, or repetitive strain injury, can also lead to headaches. This is where a muscle is overused for long periods of time. Playing games makes your eyes look at a bright screen for a long time, which can lead to the eyes needing a break, if denied of this then they will ache and hurt which causes a headache.
The first thing you should do when experiencing a video game-induced headache is to take breaks. Instantly turn the game off and do something else. Refrain from doing something similar such as reading a book or watching the TV as these will not help.
One of the best things to do is sit outside and drink a glass of water. The break will help stop video game headaches, as will the fresh air and water. Make sure to drink more water than you usually would as headaches can also be caused by dehydration which is why it is critical you drink enough water.
If you are visually impaired or require glasses or contact lenses then make sure you use them while playing video games as this will reduce the likelihood that a headache occurs.
The most common causes of headaches are people not taking breaks and playing for too long. This can lead to RSI so it is crucial that you have a break every hour or so. If you are playing a first person shooter then take a break every few matches. Anyone playing an RPG or something similar, take breaks after every other quest or mission. Another way to combat RSI is to make it so that your eyes do not work as hard, this can be achieved by playing in a well-lit room and making sure the video game brightness is high enough so that you do not constantly strain to see what is in the dark.
The breaks do not have to be too long, probably the same amount of time it takes to brew a coffee and drink it.
You may find that with motion sickness, headaches are only occurring when you play certain video games. This is completely natural as some games tend to overpower your body’s sense of direction. While I’m sure they are fun, if you know what games give you motion sickness then it might be best to avoid playing or take more breaks at least. First-person video games are more likely to cause this than anything else as they are designed to be immersive and trick your body with realistic camera movements that may trigger headaches.
One of the more prominent risks to gaming is a bad posture which can have horrible effects on your later life. The best way to fix bad posture is to buy a gaming chair and make sure you sit in it properly to reap the rewards of perfect posture.
Yes. It can be for a number of reasons but if you experience headaches while playing video games then they are to blame in some way.
Make sure your room is well lit and ventilated and stay hydrated. Try and play slower games as fast paced ones can make it worse.
You are probably experiencing a level of motion sickness, the immersive design of FPS games can trick your brain.