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Tension Headaches Caused by Poor Posture

Tension Headaches Caused by Poor Posture - El Paso Chiropractor

After a long day of work, returning home with pain and throbbing sensations on your head is an undesirable situation for many. Everyone believes that the reason behind their headaches at the end of the day is due to circumstances which are out of their control; work, bills, etc. But, as a matter of fact, while these difficult situations may be partially responsible for your muscle tension, these may actually not be the reason behind your headaches. From the way you sit at work and the way you hold your phone to the way you type on your computer, among other things, improper posture greatly contributes to headaches.

There are a wide variety of factors which can cause headaches. The most common reason for headaches, especially tension headaches, is muscle tension and tightness. The frequent tightness which occurs during a headache can be experienced all over the head and neck, feeling almost as though there is a rubber band around the head, according to reports of many individuals. The tension and tightening of the muscles is largely due to poor posture where the muscles are trying to adapt to the constraints which are being placed on them. Poor posture over time leads to shortening of the muscles and irritation of the structures surrounding the spine, particularly the spinal discs. It’s this specific shortening of the tissues that causes the rubber band feeling on the head, or tension headaches. Most often, this form of pain and discomfort is felt at the base of the skull. The longer the individual sits in an improper position, the longer the tension and tightness of the muscles will last and worsen, causing longer lasting and worse headaches.

The difficulty with improper postures is that they are mostly involuntary in their movements. If you are an individual who stresses frequently, it’s not uncommon for the shoulders to rise up to their ears. The person may not even realize they’re practicing this posture until they take a deep breath and relax, an action many take longer to realize. The shoulders may have been up for a majority of the day, meaning the muscles were being overworked in an inappropriate position, and chances are the individual won’t correct their posture until the headache has started.

When working an office job, there are many culprits which can often cause improper postures. One regular activity which causes the shoulders to rise is talking on the phone, whether it’s through a cell phone or a desk phone. Other individuals just outright hold the phone with their shoulders. This action can cause an even stronger contraction, leading to more intense pain. In other situations, desk height and monitor height may also contribute to an individual’s pain and discomfort. A desk that is too high often forces the individual to raise their arms up, therefore causing shoulder elevation. A monitor which is set too low, together with sitting in an unsupportive chair, promotes forward head posture. Even carrying large bags causes the body to slump forward. Making sure that your desk is set up correctly can help decrease your risk of developing this type of tension headaches.

Muscles need blood flow in order for them to function properly and not experience tension and tightness. Simply standing at your desk for even a minute can allow blood flow to increase which may save you from feeling head pain. One method you can use to remember to give yourself time to stretch and correct your posture is to set up a timer on your phone or computer. For every 15 or 30 minutes the timer goes off, the individual should correct the posture of their shoulders if they are being held up to their ears and if they are slumping on their chair. Ultimately, every time the alarm goes off, individuals should use this as a healthy reminder to stand up and allow the muscles to reset.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


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