Thiel: Bad posture can be the cause of headaches

Suboccipital headache pain is described as a deep or dull throbbing at the base of the skull extending up the region of the eye.

The most frequent type of headache is also the easiest to avoid.

In my practice, I see many patients suffering from chronic headaches.

There are about 23 separate classifications for different types of headaches.

The one that I see most frequently is the type of headache classified as a suboccipital headache. Fancy name, I know. Let me explain.

It comprises approximately 75 per cent of my headache population in practice. We all know these headaches because of how common they are. These are the type of headaches that start at the base of your skull or at the very top of your neck. These headaches tend to migrate up the skull eventually residing behind and eye or back of the skull.

The pain is described as a deep or dull throbbing at the base of the skull extending up the region of the eye.

Almost always, these headaches start where the neck meets the base of the skull.

One of the first questions I ask my patients with these type of headaches is: Have you been spending a lot of time at your computer?

Rarely do we ever maintain proper posture during long durations in front of a computer screen.

We tend to adopt what is called a empathetic listening posture during long times of battle at the computer. In this case, our shoulders round forward causing our neck and head to translate forward.

We tend to find ourselves in somewhat of a sniffing posture.

This will, in turn, place pressure and compression, in a sustained fashion at the base of the neck compressing a nerve which is the genesis of the headache.

This nerve is called the greater occipital nerve and it travels from the base of the skull that extends up the skull to rest behind the eye.

This headache is the result of the head moving forward in relationship to the rest of the body putting sustained pressure on that important nerve.

The most simple remedy is proper posture with respect to your computer. Make sure that the middle of your monitor meets you at the level of your eyes.

This will stop you from peering down or up while at the computer. In addition, try to maintain the center of your skull over the center of your pelvis, keeping the spine in proper alignment.

This situation is often made worse with people who have progressive bifocal lenses as it often makes them tip their head backwards to see the screen more clearly.

In fact, about 40 per cent of the people that I see with these type of headaches ware glasses that place them in somewhat of a sniffing posture.

One of the telltale signs of these headaches is someone who constantly rub the base of their skull while complaining all their headache.

The vast majority of these type of headaches are the result of a dysfunctional and stressful posture and therefore, can be avoided.

If you do have one of these headaches, it is often easily remedied by resting your chin on your chest and using your thumbs to rub the soft part underneath your skull. If that does not help, apply a hot pack for 15 minutes and then stretch the region gently.

If you are someone who spends a lot of time at the computer or you find yourself doing a lot of texting your posture is the culprit.

You don’t have headaches because you have a Tylenol deficiency, it’s a posture and function type of situation. I hate to say it, Mom was right, sit up straight.