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.

Kelowna Capital News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Kelowna school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say they are self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read