Poor Posture, Sore Shoulders and Headaches

One of the most common presentations we see in clinical practice is that of headaches stemming from tightness in the neck and/or explicit neck pain. This tightness or pain is often caused by poor posture, prolonged sitting and lack of strength and stability of the upper back muscles.

Why do we suffer from sore shoulders and headaches?

When we talk about shoulder pain and headaches, we must really think about what’s the main cause of it and why are we presented with excruciating symptoms 😰

While some shoulder pain can be caused by repetitive movements, poor lifting techniques, misfiring muscles or other imbalances; often it can be caused by postural deviation; ie your posture isn’t correct.

When the upper segment of the body is not aligned properly and functioning in an abnormal manner; it can cause a number of issues. Symptoms might include crippling headaches and migraines, shortness of breath from shallow breathing, constantly sore or stiff neck and shoulders, other back pain and decreased range of motion.

Long term upper cross syndrome, can also affect other regions of the body and can be combined with lower cross syndrome. We talked about this last week – click here to read that article.

What is it, what’s associated with it and how do you know if you have it?

Upper cross syndrome is a postural deviation (incorrect posture) that some of us may have. This incorrect posture, if not attended to can cause serious issues down the line.

By having this incorrect posture, the thoracic spine which makes up the upper back is excessively curved, and the shoulders turn to an anterior rotated position; in other words, the back and shoulders are rounded and your head is tilted forward. This off-course will cause other structures above and below to fall out of alignment.

How do we fall into this postural deviation?

Our lifestyle, occupational ergonomics and daily habits all influence our posture. If you are always slouching and dropping your shoulders, you could suffer from upper cross syndrome.

Ask a friend or family member to observe you for 2-5 minutes after standing; don’t consciously correct your posture, just stand as you normally would. Your ear and the center of your shoulder should be aligned.

Why can this cause so many problems?

Did you know your head weights about as much as a bowling ball? Imagine you have an 8kg bowling ball in one hand and your forearm is vertical. It might be a little heavy but the weight is evenly pushing down in your arm.

Now imagine moving your arm out to a 45 degree angle, all of a sudden your forearm muscles are working extremely hard to hold the ball in that position. This is what happens to your neck when your head is tilted forward… 😖

When the shoulders round forward the pec muscles become tight; over time the should muscles become weak and do not have the strength to counter the movement.

The muscles which work hard to keep these structures aligned, become moulded into the deformed position. When you fail to correct your posture, you fall into the trap of having your shoulders rounded and head tilted forward, causing the shoulders to hyper extend.

How do we reverse this and fix the problem?

That is where our muscle mechanics come in – we are here to help you live your best life – which includes functioning pain free!

We use different methods of bodywork therapy to relax, stretch, strengthen and massage the affected areas while also taking into consideration the alignment of your body and how we can start a snowball effect to a better and more functional lifestyle.

How long will it take? 💭

We won’t reverse 10 years of poor posture in 1 session – we’re good, but not that good 😉 You’ll need some serious work at the start to get that area moving, then we can move onto a maintenance schedule.

The more lifestyle changes you can make the quicker your results will be, and longer they will last without treatments! For example if you can make a conscious effort to pull your shoulders back, your muscles will start to strengthen and support the correct posture.

Kay is also a Personal Trainer, so can also give you some tips and hints on exercises to strengthen! 👍

Cheers,
Kay Kakani