What does your day-to-day working routine look like?
Sit at a computer all day?
Commute to work and/or drive for several hours as part of your daily routine?
Work in a hunched over position, looking down at your desk?
Do you also find you have a headache on a regular basis?
All of the above involve a forward head position, which can lead to aches and pains. If your normal working routine involves sitting, hunching or long drive times, you likely find yourself experiencing routine headaches.
A normal, healthy posture aligns the head directly above your shoulder. This neutral head carriage allows for more even distribution of the weight of your head among all the joints of your neck and upper back.
According to Physiology of the Joints, Volume III (Kapandji), every inch the head moves forward adds 10 pounds of stress to the head and neck muscles.
Considering the average head weighs roughly 10 to 12 pounds, if your head moves forward from your shoulder 2 inches, your head feels like it weighs 32 pounds. If your head moved forward 3 inches, your head feels like it weighs 42 pounds. (That’s one heavy head!)
You can start to see why at the end of the day, the muscles in your neck and upper back feel so tight and achy and tired. Your muscles have to work much harder to keep your head and chin from dropping down onto your chest when you’re hunched forward. The suboccipital muscles (those are the muscles at the top of your neck and the base of your skull) have to remain in a constant state of contraction. This puts pressure on the three suboccipital nerves, causing headaches at the base of your skull. Compression of these nerves can cause pain to extend over your head and into the area above your eyes, in your eyes and even in the area over your ears and in your ears.
It drives us chiropractors crazy when we see people putting themselves through unnecessary pain because of bad posture. Bad posture is not just a bad habit: it’s bad for you. It hurts. It’s painful. Good posture can lead to a pain-free, more healthful life.
Here’s my request: if you’re reading this at a computer or on your phone, take a minute right now to self-assess your posture. Sit up straight, align your head over your shoulders. Can you feel the difference? Try adding in regular calendar reminders throughout the day to check your posture. You’ll notice that you have fewer headaches and feel better when you head home at the end of the day.
Questions about your nagging headaches? Contact Dr. Bart Sellers today at 985-624-9888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Bart Sellers has been in practice for 25 years. He enjoys helping clients on the Northshore live a happier, healthier, pain-free life. Dr. Sellers' clinic, Chiropractic Associates of Mandeville, is located at 221 Saint Ann Dr, #2 in Mandeville, behind Whole Foods Market.