Headache and musculoskeletal pain in school children are associated with uncorrected vision problems and need for glasses: a case–control study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionThorud, H. M. S., Aurjord, R., & Falkenberg, H. K. (2021). Headache and musculoskeletal pain in school children are associated with uncorrected vision problems and need for glasses: a case–control study. Scientific Reports, 11, 2093. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81497-w
Musculoskeletal pain and headache are leading causes of years lived with disability, and an escalating problem in school children. Children spend increasingly more time reading and using digital screens, and increased near tasks intensify the workload on the precise coordination of the visual and head-stabilizing systems. Even minor vision problems can provoke headache and neck- and shoulder (pericranial) pain. This study investigated the association between headaches, pericranial tenderness, vision problems, and the need for glasses in children. An eye and physical examination was performed in twenty 10–15 year old children presenting to the school health nurse with headache and pericranial pain (pain group), and twenty age-and-gender matched classmates (control group). The results showed that twice as many children in the pain group had uncorrected vision and needed glasses. Most children were hyperopic, and glasses were recommended mainly for near work. Headache and pericranial tenderness were significantly correlated to reduced binocular vision, reduced distance vision, and the need for new glasses. That uncorrected vision problems are related to upper body musculoskeletal symptoms and headache, indicate that all children with these symptoms should have a full eye examination to promote health and academic performance.