Headaches are a common complaint from patients and can greatly affect ones quality of life. Headaches can originate from the neck—cervical spine—and can be associated to posture. There is really no one ‘good posture’ because our bodies are meant to be moving frequently. Prolonged positioning leads to decreased joint mobility, muscle soreness/stiffness and can predispose an individual to develop osteoarthritis. This pain can be seen in a variety of areas but a few common hot spots are the neck, shoulders, mid back and jaw
Fixing posture involves first looking into where joint and muscle limitations are occurring. After this the mechanics need to be corrected (ie. Stretching, strengthening). This is only the first part of the equation though. For most of us we are used to our habitual movement patterns and this will need to be reconditioned—usually the hardest part. This is done by frequently reminding yourself to change your habit of leaning forward and using the back muscles to support you. Now the stronger you get these muscles the less effort they will need to keep you upright and the less mental effort you need to put into reminding yourself to correction your posture.
Once strong enough to correct your posture on your own it is a great idea to do some form of home mobility program (ie. Yoga, physiotherapy exercises) and regular massage therapy to prevent posture relapsing.
All of this will help to remedy the headaches and other upper body ailments in the future. Remember the saying “use it or lose it”; although this is not always 100% true, it is much easier to prevent than treat after the fact.
Registered Physiotherapist, BHSc, MScPT