READ - Are your headaches coming from your neck?
2 MINUTE READ
Your advice today is coming from Simon Ruse. Simon is a Sport & Exercise Physiotherapist and NSW Institute of Sport accredited practitioner. He has 13 years experience working as a physiotherapist with people from all walks of life. He has a true passion for helping people realise their full physical potential, whether that be for competitive or recreational sports, surfing, skiing, golf, or just everyday life and well-being. Simon is a surfer, skier and snowboarder. Simon is also a Director of Altitude Physiotherapy and Massage in Thredbo and Falls Creek. His association with winter sports has led him to become an Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and a NSW Institute of Sport practitioner. He has treated Australia’s elite ski and snowboard athletes, including Olympic gold medalists.
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Q: My neck gets stiff and I feel headachy by the end of the day, why?
A: Over time, sitting in same posture for long periods of time, such as sitting in front of a computer, can be problematic for the muscles and joints around the neck and shoulders. When postural muscles fatigue, the trunk adopts a ‘slumped’ posture and consequently the spine adopts a less optimal position.
In a slumped position the upper back becomes rounded, the abdomen protrudes and in order to remain looking forward the chin creeps forward and upwards causing a ‘pokey chin’ posture. Over time this causes compression joints and unwanted tension in the muscles around the head and neck, from the shoulder blades all the way up to the base of the skull. When irritated these structures can cause a headache.
Simple tips to improve the problem: There are some simple ‘new habits’ you can adopt to prevent your headaches.
Try to sit up tall, but not ridged – think about lifting up from the breast bone. Get up and move away from your desk often, every 20 minutes or so and make sure your computer screen desk and office chair are set up correctly!
Perform simple neck movement exercises throughout the day such as:
Looking to the right and left, and taking your chin to your chest 10 times.
Try stretching the ear towards the shoulder then turning to look at the floor.
None of these movements or stretches should cause you any pain, so if they do, stop and seek advice from your physiotherapist. Hands-on treatment by a physiotherapist is often a very important part of the solution for ‘Cervicogenic Headaches’ (headache originating from the neck).