Posted on May 13, 2016

Using cellphones often for Internet surfing and messaging could cause frequent headaches, according to an expert at the recent ‘Ask the Expert’ public lecture series at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q). Dr Basim Uthman (pictured), Vice Chair and Professor of Clinical Neurology and Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, WCM-Q, said there are basically two types of headaches.

Secondary headaches caused by high blood pressure, eye disorders, inflammation of the middle ear or sinuses, dental pain, fever, colds, flu and disorders of sugar in the blood. And primary headaches, which can occur independently of any other disease process and may be triggered or exacerbated by psychological or emotional reasons, stress, malfunctioning of some body parts or lifestyle changes. “To prevent primary headaches, you should drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to keep the body hydrated, and indeed the brain hydrated and well-cushioned.

“To relieve the symptoms, you can stretch and relax, especially with the lights dimmed and a cool bath will help rebalance the circulatory system,” said Dr Uthman who also serves as a consultant in neurology at Hamad Medical Corporation. “In the case of migraine — a type of primary headache — sufferers should also avoid soft drinks, processed meat, pickled items, monosodium glutamate, spices and chocolate, which can exacerbate headaches. “Painkillers like Paracetamol can bring relief but should not be used on a regular basis, it is better to address the triggers or causes of the headache,” he said.

Dr Uthman warned against spending too much time on cell phone, particularly for surfing the Internet and messaging as some research suggests that it can lead to eye strain, with constant refocusing the eye has to do between checking the phone and the wider world. In case of secondary headaches and certain types of severe or complicated primary headaches, causes may vary and sufferers should consult doctor to accurately diagnose and treat the underlying condition, acutely and prophylactically.

Red flags prompting an urgent visit to the doctor or emergency department include headache onset after 50, getting the worst headache of life, a change in typical pattern of headaches, a history of cancer, fever, visual loss, double vision, a change in personality, new onset seizures and HIV. The lecture series is interactive public talks as part of WCM-Q’s Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First campaign.

source: The Peninsula