I Spend All Day Staring at Computer—and This $8 Find Helps Alleviate My Screen-Induced Headaches

woman at laptop

Caroline Rccrd

Binge-watching whatever’s on Netflix and mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed is all fun and games until you’re confronted with a pounding headache. Trust me, I should know.

As a freelance journalist, I spend a lot of my time in front of my screen. I’m usually hunched over my laptop at my co-working space or apartment. I use my smartphone to churn out emails and articles from the gym or an Uber. And, on the rare occasion I’m not doing work, you can find me horizontal on my couch, enjoying some television. Thanks to my persistent screen use, most of my days end with a huge headache, to the point where it felt like I couldn’t think straight.

For some time, nothing I tried actually worked to get rid of them. Whenever I limited my screen time, my productivity tanked. I don’t wear glasses, so the idea of picking up some blue light frames felt dramatic. And once my headaches kicked in, ibuprofen and several glasses of water couldn’t do the trick. 

Oddly, what does help is placing an icy cold mask on my forehead. As random as it seems, there is some science behind it. You see, many experts argue applying something cold to your head can alleviate the pain caused by headaches and migraines. 

ice mask
Ariel EDGE Plush Hot/Cold Eye Mask $8

While I wouldn’t say an ice mask curse my headaches in an instant, they do help to relieve the pain, making it possible to return to my regularly scheduled programming. Or, if I have a big headache at the end of the day, these masks make me feel comfortable enough to coax myself to sleep, versus staying wide awake in agonizing pain.

Simply adjust the mask’s velcro strap to fit snugly around your head with the plush side touching your skin, and let the cold work its magic.

But what I once considered the perfect remedy for a painful headache quickly turned into an integral part of my self-care routine. 

Headache or no headache, placing something cold on your forehead feels great. Now, at the end of the day, I often put on a cold mask on my forehead, using it as a mental cue that it’s finally time to close the laptop and relax. In fact, I have multiple masks chilling in my freezer and swap them out whenever I wake up in the middle of the night.

And I’m not the only one who’s low-key obsessed with this self-care ritual. When I first moved in with my boyfriend a little less than two months ago, the very first thing we ordered for our apartment was a mask for him.

If you haven’t gotten the memo, let me make it very clear: I am not a neurologist. What works for my headaches may not work for yours. However, if you’re desperate for a relaxing remedy—or simply want to up your self-care routine—I would highly encourage you to give ice masks a try. Plus, at $8 a pop, they’re cheaper than most bottles of ibuprofen.

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