Can Poor Posture cause Migraines?

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We’ve all heard the saying: “You’re giving me a headache”. The truth is, migraines and headaches can arise from more than just frustration, stress at work or the common cold. Poor posture is often a common cause of neck pain and migraines are often caused from various pain generators in the neck. So don’t overlook this.

Yes migraines can have triggers and we may find it easier to suggest our migraines are caused by our surrounding environment, we may fail to identify the exact way our bodies react to these scenarios. It is important to be able to identify poor posture when working, scrolling your phone, sitting at a computer and even relaxing at home. Learning how to correct poor posture can not only reduce the impact of migraines but also prevent you from further injury in the long run.

Poor posture can indeed contribute to the onset of migraines, a connection that is increasingly recognised in medical discussions, including those within the chiropractic community. When you maintain a posture that strains the neck and upper back, such as slouching or prolonged forward head positioning (often seen in people who use computers extensively), it can lead to muscle tension and increased pressure on the structures of the neck. This tension in the neck can be a factor that contributes to dysfunction on joints, discs, muscles and nerves. Depending on how the pattern of dysfunction accumulates in the structures mentioned, overtime these are known to trigger cervicogenic migraines or trigger other migraines. Family history and other environment triggers play a role here too. 

Chiropractors focus on correcting these postural imbalances through spinal adjustments and manipulations that aim to improve spinal function and relieve pressure on the nervous system. These adjustments can reduce the muscle tension in the neck and upper back, which in turn can decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes. Additionally, chiropractors may offer advice on proper ergonomics, exercises, and relaxation techniques to help maintain a healthy posture and prevent the recurrence of migraines.

How does poor posture cause migraines?  

Poor posture causes tension in your upper back, neck and shoulders. As a result, this can lead to uncomfortable headaches or unbearable migraines. A tension or stress headache may feel like a clamp-like pressure around your forehead or the back of your head and neck. While they can also be referred to as stress headaches, correcting bad posture habits can help relieve the tension contributing to your migraines.

When you have poor posture, your upper back, neck and shoulders may be positioned in a way that causes the tightening of muscles and results in muscle tension around the head. 

What are the common types of poor posture? 

Whether you are sitting at your desk at work or scrolling through social media at home, think of your posture. The incorrect positioning of your muscles (caused by poor posture) can stimulate migraines. 

There are three common types of incorrect posture that you should consider correcting if you experience posture induced migraines. 

Forward neck

It comes as no surprise looking into your lap at your phone is bad for your neck. As a result of accessive phone use, stiffness in the neck, upper back and spine ic common. The correct position of the neck should be upright with your ears in line with your shoulders and hips.

Rounded shoulders

A common occurrence of rounded shoulders occurs in the workplace. For instance, you may be sitting at work with a monitor or laptop positioned too low. In this scenario, you may be slouching forward or hunching over the desk. Better known as ‘The Laptop Syndrome’, consistently sitting in this position may consequently attribute to muscle weakness in areas of the back and tension in other muscles for the overcompensation. Making sure your desk is correctly positioned and having a supportive chair can help these habits. 

Raised shoulders

The body’s natural reaction to stress is the tightening of muscles. Often when muscles tighten from stress the shoulders become raised or rigid. You might not have been aware of this for hours until you are combating a migraine as a result. Being aware of your body’s reaction to stress can help alleviate tension on your muscles. Another instance where raised shoulders may cause migraines is if you spend a lot of time speaking on the phone. Whether talking on a mobile or desk phone, a common habit is to raise one shoulder to your ear. Avoiding this habit can benefit migraines caused by poor posture as raising one shoulder to your ear can cause intense muscle contraction and result with high pain. 

If you experience headaches or migraines, knowing how to keep correct posture is vital to your spinal health. Breaking the habit of poor posture through suggestions above will help relieve your body of muscular tension and may help avoid future migraines.

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