The study, presented at the 2022 Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), indicated that prolonged exposure to computer screens, a lack of appropriate conditions for online home learning, school exams and anxieties about Covid-19 have all been shown to be risk factors. for the worsening of headache symptoms or the onset of new headaches.
“Although previous studies reported that young people had fewer headaches due to school closures during the first weeks and months of Covid-19, this longer-term study found that stress and the pressures of the pandemic finally took their toll,” said lead researcher Ayse Nur Ozdag Acarli of Ermenek State Hospital in Karaman, Turkey.
For the study, the team analyzed 851 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18, with 756 (89%) of the children reporting headaches during the study period. Of these children, 10% reported new headaches during the pandemic homeschooling period. More than a quarter (27%) of children said their headaches got worse, 61% said their headaches remained stable and 3% said their headaches got better.
Those who reported aggravated or new onset headaches suffered from headaches an average of 8 to 9 times per month.
More than half of the children in this group (43%) used painkillers at least once a month, compared to a third (33%) in the stable group.
The study found that headaches had a big impact on mental health and school performance. Depression and anxiety scores, including anxiety about catching Covid-19, were significantly higher in the aggravated and recent-onset headache groups.