Do you ever ask yourself, “Why does my head hurt when I play video games?” or “Can playing video games cause migraines?”

Is playing video games giving you or your kids headaches? The causes of headaches can range from mundane to serious. One of the most common causes isn’t actually from playing video games, but from an underlying condition know as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). You shouldn’t ignore these headaches or else you’re more likely to suffer serious consequences. At Smile Columbia Dentistry, our Columbia, SC TMJ dentist is committed to helping our patients live headache-free lives. Find out what the most common causes of video game headaches are and how we might be able to help with TMJ treatment.

group of young adults playing a video game

Common Causes of Video Game Headaches

1. Fatigue and Dehydration

If you only get headaches from video games after playing for prolonged periods, you may just be experiencing fatigue or dehydration, two of the most common causes of all headaches. The solution to these headaches is easy: take more breaks, drink more water, and spend less time playing video games.

2. Motion Sickness

Another problem that can cause headaches is motion sickness. With many games, especially first-person shooter (FPS) games, the perspective can move around in such a way that it confuses your body’s sense of motion. Your eyes are telling your body that it’s moving, but your ears and your body’s sense of itself are telling you that you’re staying still. You’ll probably also experience dizziness and maybe nausea.

There are several solutions. First, make sure your gaming environment is appropriately lit. Then try playing in short sessions. You might try Dramamine, an effective motion sickness medication that’s available over-the-counter. If that doesn’t work, you may have to give up the offending games.

3. Epilepsy and Photosensitivity

Some people with epilepsy are photosensitive and may experience seizures when playing video games or watching TV. Headaches can be a warning sign that a seizure is coming on, or it can be an aftereffect of seizures. Not all seizures are obvious, and you may be experiencing them without being aware.

4. TMJ and Stress-Related Headaches

If you notice that your headache from video games become worse after particularly challenging, frustrating, or exciting parts of the game, you might be suffering from TMJ-mediated stress headaches. During stressful moments playing games, you might be clenching your jaw, and your jaw muscles pass their stress on to muscles in your head and neck, which can trigger headaches. The location of your headache can also tell you what the cause is.

Video Game Headaches

If you live in Columbia, SC and you frequently experience headaches after playing video games, TMJ is likely the cause. To find out if you need TMJ treatment, we first recommend evaluating if you have any other symptoms of TMJ. Symptoms related to TMJ include jaw, neck or back pain, worn, cracked, or chipped teeth, popping or clicking noises in the jaw, tinnitus, ear pain, or feeling like your teeth don’t fit together correctly. If you play video games and experience headaches in addition to one or more of these symptoms, you need to visit a TMJ dentist in Columbia, SC for treatment.

When you visit Dr. Adam Hahn for TMJ treatment, he will first begin by diagnosing you with TMJ. He will look for signs of TMJ as well as ask you about your symptoms. If he finds that you do have TMJ, he will create a TMJ treatment plan to help your jaw become balanced. Once we achieve balance in your jaw joints again, you will notice your symptoms slowly subside including headache-free video game sessions.

Talk to a Columbia TMJ Dentist Today

If taking a few simple steps doesn’t cure your video game headaches, you should talk to your doctor. If you suspect TMJ might be to blame for your headaches in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.