Posture and Tension Headaches

Chiropractic can help with your headaches!

Are you a headache sufferer? Do you rely on medications to cure your pain, but they just keep coming back? CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP!

Headaches are highly related to a few small muscles located at the base of your skull: The “suboccipital muscles.” When these muscles are tight, they can cause referral pain into your head. Additionally, they can also put tension on a nerve that travels through the area, which causes headache pain. Typically people with headaches have a lot of tension in their neck muscles, a lot of which comes from their day-to-day poor posture and sleeping habits.
Short Neck Muscles, Posterior View

A lot of people who walk into our office have “forward head posture,” which is defined exactly as it sounds: your head is in a position that is too far forward with respect to your cervical spine. This happens secondary to bad posture. Forward head posture causes a constant contraction of your neck muscles. Take a look at the picture below for a great visualization of all the extra weight you carry around all day!

Extra weight carried everyday

This forward-head posture causes your head to be in an extended position, and thus puts pressure on the nerves that travel through the neck musculature. For every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight. The muscles need to work harder in order to keep the position.

Another interesting finding: A study in the journal ‘Spine’ reported that the muscles involved in those with forward-head-posture connects to the ‘dura mater’ (the outermost membranes covering the brain and spinal cord). Therefore it is concluded that the tight suboccipital muscles can cause tension on the dura mater, and contribute to headaches.

In a cadaver study, it was noted that 11 out of 13 cadavers had a connection between one of the suboccipital muscles and the spinal dura mater. A study done previous to this reported the connection is related to headaches.

This is where visiting your Chiropractor comes in handy. We can evaluate the daily stress you put on these upper neck muscles and treat them effectively in order to reduce both your neck pain and headaches!

At the S.C.A.P. Centre we typically use Active Release Techniques (ART®), Acupuncture, and an adjustment for headaches and neck pain. We also use the “Fascial Abrasion Technique Tool,” which is a handheld tool that assists in treating the soft tissue structures. However, if we always modify treatment based on your individual preference!



1. Anatomical Connection Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and the Dura Mater
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 (Jan 27)


2. Anatomic Relation Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor Muscle and the Dura Mater
Spine 1995 (Dec); 20 (23): 2484-2486