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Can too much screen time lead to migraines? | VERIFY

The Mayo Clinic describes a migraine as a headache that is accompanied by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation in your head.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You may get weekly warnings on your phone about how much screen time you had each day. 

And while many parents are concerned about their kids' screen time for various reasons, is it really bad for your health? 

We've seen the warnings: Too much screen time can lead to migraines. But is that true for every migraine sufferer?

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The Mayo Clinic describes a migraine as a headache that is accompanied by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation in your head.

"For it to be a migraine, someone has to have had five attacks in their life," Donnelly said.

Migraines have three common symptoms: nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. But is too much screen time a trigger for migraines? 

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Donnelly says smartphone screens can be a trigger for people who are sensitive to light and have experienced migraines in the past.

"For someone who already is predisposed to having migraine — they run in the family, they have had one previously — screen time can play a role for some patients," Donnelly said.

The time of day can also play a role in migraines that are triggered by screen time.

"If they are looking at the screen all hours of the night that can worsen the frequency of migraine as well," Donnelly said.

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Some doctors theorize that we can lower our chances of getting migraines by limiting overnight screen time. 

"I really think if we can moderate that amount as well and really minimize screen time, phone time especially, in the one-to-two hours before someone goes to sleep, I think that'll make a big difference," Estemalik said. 

Donnelly said other triggers like stress, the weather and unhealthy sleep habits can also cause migraines. Ultimately, getting a migraine from too much screen time really depends on an individual's triggers. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.

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