Headache and Posture

A closer relationship than you may think! If you are unlucky enough to be one of the many headache sufferers, then it is likely that this is significantly affecting the quality of your life. The reason I am writing this, is that this appears to be a worsening problem.

Because of the increasing numbers of reports of side-effects from the use of medication, more people are looking for more natural approaches. Chiropractic has become recognised as one of the most effective of these approaches and to understand this we must look at the main cause of tension-type headaches in this modern world – POSTURE!

We should all have a good idea what good posture looks like.

Take a look below. Here’s a clue – it’s not the one on the left.

Yes, and the one on the left just happens to be the headache sufferer. Lets look at why.

We can see that her head has moved forward on her shoulders. Now, this IS significant, as for every inch the head has moved forward, the head essentially weighs an additional 4.5 kilograms in weight. This is the weight of an average bowling ball to give you an idea. This extra weight has to be counter-balanced by the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and neck!

Dr Rene Calliet MD of the University of California noted that prolonged forward head posture can add an additional 13.5 kilograms to that supported by the neck and this can pull the entire spine out of alignment.Slouching forward can also reduce the lungs’ vital capacity by 30% and contribute to other breathing problems. 

Can you imagine a 14.5-kilogram watermelon around your neck all day and the amount of tension it may cause? The muscle pain and fatigue would be simply excruciating.

Without correction, chronic muscle pain and headaches from the pinching of nerves at the top of the neck become more and more likely.

Gradually an upper back “hump” may develop and even a “Dowager Hump” which is a hunch-back presentation caused by compressed vertebrae (back-bones). This must be considered serious as this posture is associated with a shorter lifespan.

The Solution – Remember, any type of pain is the body telling you that something is wrong. Same with a terrible headache! Don’t ignore it as it will become a chronic, permanent condition! 

Headache Tips and Tricks

There are a few action steps that we can start to apply to our lives immediately that will start to help. 

  1. Start by pulling your head back on your shoulder. Make it a habit and use a resistance band to strengthen the neck muscles. Standing with your back against the wall, your goal should be to comfortably be able to press your head gently against the wall.

  2. Use a foam roller on your upper back and do some neck extension exercises. Help that tension leave your upper back.

  3. Do some neck stretches daily – Think 6 directions (flex forward, extend back, side flex left and right, and 2 rotations)

  4. At work, stand up three times an hour, pulling your head back, and opening your shoulders. Lift your sternum (breast bone) two inches and engage your abs. Do some shoulder rolls, to the front and back. Get some blood moving through the tight muscles. Reset your body so it is not just gradually stiffening or shutting down. Remember, 3 times an hour.

  5. To help you with these, do keep your eyes open for a video coming shortly. We’re going to be demonstrating all these exercises clearly, and add a few more.

Finally, make sure you do have periodic chiropractic adjustments.

They are perhaps THE best way at keeping those headaches at bay. By means of gentle, specific, chiropractic adjustments, postural retraining exercises and spinal stability exercises we WILL help you to correct the function of your spine and your bad posture. Not only will you live with much less pain but you will have better sleep, less fatigue, improved breathing and a stronger immune response. 

If you do suffer headaches we absolutely recommend you give chiropractic a chance. Finally your headaches can become something from your past.

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Tanjong Pagar

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