07 Sep A Common Reason Why Sitting At Your Desk Is Causing Your Headaches
By Jackson McKellar Physiotherapist
Have the demands of your job gotten on top of you? Are you spending hours sitting in front of the computer in preparation for your VCE exams? Do you have a headache that just won’t go away and is impacting your ability to work? We hear you, and hopefully this information might provide you with the education you need to start your journey to relief.
Cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches that are caused from the joints and muscles of the upper cervical (neck) spine (C1,2 & 3). They often only affect one side of the head as they stem from the neck and travel from the base of the skull, over the top of the head and finish up in the forehead. In some cases patients may report pain behind the eye or on both sides of the skull.
Unfortunately, cervicogenic headaches don’t give us any warning they’re coming, and often occur because of undue stress we place on the cervical spine or joints of the neck when we have prolonged periods of sitting and desk work.
When we sit upright, the head weighs approximately 5kg. When we fatigue throughout the day and start to sit with a rounded back, chin poking forward and head looking down, our head can put up to 8 times its weight through the upper neck joints. Over time and with greater frequency of these moments those small joints and neck muscles just simply can’t cope, and we recruit our bigger neck muscles to help distribute the load, which unfortunately results in stiffness and that awful headache you’ve been experiencing!
Physiotherapy is extremely effective in relieving cervicogenic headaches, with the short term focus on relieving pain through mobilising stiff joints and releasing tight muscles. The focus then needs to shift towards your neuro-muscular system, by strengthening and improving the recruitment of the smaller and weaker muscles around your neck and shoulders so that you have the capacity to do the tasks you need to do, for longer periods of time !
If you’re a sufferer of headaches or migraines, and they’re impacting your ability to work or go to school, call our helpful team on 03 9370 0345, or head Bookings to make an appointment and get the relief you deserve today!