The Role of Posture in Headaches

Headaches are often a reflection of our lifestyle.

Work weeks can often fall into a pattern that varies to the individual but generally sees us waking up, commuting to work where we sit for hours on end, returning home for recreation in the evening, sleeping and repeating. Within this framework, physical and mental stress is constantly cycling and it requires hourly dedication to keep it in check. The demands of the workplace challenge our discipline when it comes to wellness-awareness: things like checking our posture, or getting outside for a breath of fresh air are neglected. This sets a dangerous precedent, whereby allowing stress to accumulate in the day can carry over into your non-work life to affect sleep, exercise and overall happiness. Headaches are a great example of this: if we leave work with a slight tension headache, it is easy to write them off as “normal” or “regular;” just a part of being an adult and going about our daily business. This is simply not true- the headache is a signal that something, somewhere is wrong and it is asking for you to fix it. 

Posture can play a direct role in the presence of headaches.

Even 2 hours in front of a computer screen is a fretful prospect for the spine, so 6-8 hours is simply monstrous. As the minutes slip by, we find it easier to slip into poor posture- our chins start inching toward the screen and the head follows; the upper back rounds and the shoulders start to creep up toward the ears. Any sense of balance has now been distorted as the head’s weight is now magnified in relation to the rest of the spine causing the neck and shoulder muscles to compensate to provide stability. This creates muscle spasms in the upper back, shoulders and neck that are referred to the nerves in your head and which you experience as a headache!

What to do about it?

Fixing your posture could go a long way toward solving the presence of chronic headaches. From our end, we can provide you with chiropractic adjustments which ensure that the spine is in a state of alignment and balance; provide trigger point relief for knotted and tense upper backs and offer massage therapies that relieve stress and encourage the healing process. From here it is a matter of training the right muscles that make posture easier- the core for a start and the upper back muscles that help stabilize the shoulders and neck. 

Dr. Chris Hayes, D.C. 

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