Poor Posture Can Cause Headaches

There are 3 major types of headaches:

  1. Cluster
  2. Migraine
  3. Tension

Cluster and migraine headaches generally are due to a problem with the blood vessels while tension headaches are typically due to poor posture. Tension headaches usually cause a dull pain in the head, neck, temples, scalp or shoulders.

Forward head posture is a leading cause of neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. For every inch your head is located more forward from sitting right on top of your shoulders, the perceived weight of your head increases by 10 pounds.

Steps to improve posture:

  1. Set-up your work station to decrease strain on your neck.
    • The top 1/3 of the screen should be even with your eyes.
    • Elbows should rest comfortably by your sides.
    • Hips should be slightly higher than your knees with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Use a supportive neck pillow for sleeping.
  3. Perform neck stretches throughout the day.
  4. Perform postural strengthening exercises throughout the day.

If these steps do not improve your posture, schedule an appointment at Harbor Physical Therapy to address tight musculature and receive a catered exercise program based upon your presentation.


Headaches can be related to muscle tightness.  Tension in the neck muscles can radiate symptoms to the jaw, shoulder, or head. For example, tightness in the upper trapezius muscle (on the top of the shoulder) is a frequent cause for pain in the temples. Tight muscles in the back of the head underneath the skull can cause headaches in the back of the head or radiate pain to the forehead. Cervical spine tightness can also trigger migraines. Poor posture, muscle weakness, and spinal alignment can all contribute to headaches.

Physical Therapy will decrease muscle tightness, restore mobility to the joints, improve postural awareness, improve body mechanics with daily activities, and improve strength and stability. Physical therapist use modalities such as moist heat, ice, soft tissue massage, manual techniques, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, stretching, and postural strengthening exercises to provide treatment for headaches.

If you suffer from headaches, tight neck muscles might be the cause. Contact Harbor Physical Therapy for an evaluation to determine if your headaches are related to muscle tightness.