“Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!”

Ah don’t those words sound familiar. Well, your mother was right when she said these phrases over and over again and don’t seem to have been paying attention.

Having good posture is important for the health of every part of our body including our lower back, pelvis, upper back, shoulders, and even our mood. But most importantly having good posture is important for the health of our neck due to the strong connection that our neck has with headaches and migraines.

Most of us know what good posture is supposed to look like and yet we don’t implement strategies to help us achieve it. So here are some tips to help you improve your posture to help decrease your headaches and migraines.

Desk ergonomics:

As a species, we like to believe that we have evolved and yet with all the knowledge we have acquired I like to believe that we have begun to devolve because we have made ourselves slaves to our desk chairs. The human body is not designed to do any one thing for extended periods of time, be it standing or sitting, and yet we spend up to 8 hours per day sitting in a chair at a desk during our working day.

Working at a desk encourages negative posture attributes such as:

    • Rounded shoulders
    • Arched/slumped back
    • Forward head posture

All of which is bad for your neck due to the extra strain that it places through the area. So how do we combat this posture? We do this by:

    • Ensuring that your desk height/computer monitor height is appropriate for you
    • Keeping desk items within easy reach
    • Keeping your computer monitor straight on and not looking at it at an angle
    • Stretching your pectoral (chest) muscles regularly
    • Getting up and moving at regular intervals

General exercise:

As mentioned above, your body does not like to do any one thing for extended periods of time so getting up and moving, changing your position is great for your body. Exercise gets your muscles engaged and active, which can work out the stiffness and kinks from your day, strengthen areas of your body to help improve your posture, as well as your body releases endorphins during exercise, which helps modulate pain.

Targeted exercise surrounding your postural neck muscles, including your deep neck flexors, can greatly help to combat stress and strain felt and placed on your neck which can help to decrease your headache and migraine pain. Also strengthening areas adjacent to the neck e.g. your shoulder girdle and upper back can help to support this area.

Decreasing stress/increasing relaxation:

A lot of us carry our stress in our shoulders and this can alter our posture in a negative way. It can lead to:

    • Tension in through the neck and shoulders which can cause neck dysfunctions
    • Forward head posture
    • Rounded shoulders

By taking the time to decrease your stress, you will mentally feel more relaxed and your body will become visibly more relaxed, leading to a more ideal posture. Activities that you can do to decrease your stress can include:

    • Taking a walk either solo or with a friend/partner
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Taking a warm bath
    • Reading a book
    • Simply taking ½ hour every day to do something just for you

By Dr Beth (Osteopath)

If you need help with your neck and shoulder pain, Dr Beth is available on 9481 7794 or book online here