Sydney Headache & Migraine Centre

Is my posture causing my headaches?

“I have a bad posture, so I guess it doesn’t help with my headache.”


We get asked the question a lot in our clinic and many raise their ‘posture’ as a source of their headaches. Yes, it can have a likely contribution to your headache and migraine as we know that the upper neck does contribute to the brainstem sensitisation causing headaches, migraines and related symptoms. Additionally, in research it was found that people with chronic headaches were found to adapt more forward head posture and rounded upper back which biomechanically can cause more loading on your upper neck. However, often the term “good posture” can be misunderstood and misleading.

The following blog will assist you to understand the concept of a “good posture”.

Once people highlight that they do have a neck/posture component to their cause of headaches, we get asked:

“I need to improve my posture, how can I improve it?”

Well, in response to this, I would like to ask you a question first.

“ What do you think is a good posture? “

If you are reading this blog in seated position, can I ask you to adjust your current posture to be in your “good posture”?

Did you change your sitting posture to sit tall with your chest open and chin drawn back, with your back less leaning on to the backrest or completely off?





The sitting position you may have adapted as per above, I would call it the “optimal posture”. This is where the load is well distributed throughout the body to the stronger sections.  It allows your body to cope better.

Now it is good to know what we adapted is beneficial, however what is a really good posture?


Whether you are sitting or standing, a ‘good posture’ is getting out of a static posture. We cannot stay in one position for too long whether it be the posture we call “good” and posture we call “bad”. We will get stiff, tight and sore. This is because humans are meant to move.


Here are some movement strategies you can adapt to reduce your ‘posture’ related tightness and stiffness:

1. Generalised retraction: gently draw your chin back and hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat regularly.






 2. Shoulder rolls: 3 times forward and backwards regularly



3.  Neck range exercises: look down, up and side to side and ear to the shoulders. 1-3 times regularly






4. Trunk rotation stretch: in sitting gently rotate your upper body to one side to look behind. Keep your neck in line with your trunk. Do 1-3 times regularly.





These exercises are for general advice so please talk to your Physiotherapist for your individualised treatment program.

If you are a headache or migraine sufferer, a comprehensive assessment of your neck by a Headache/Migraine Physiotherapist, such as Watson Headache® Practitioner, can be life changing in overcoming your problem. 


“Motion is Lotion and good posture is getting out of a static posture”

Book A Migraine/Headache Assessment

Book online or give us a call on 1300MyHeadache (1300 694 323) to organise an assessment with Sydney Headache & Migraine Centre and learn more about what causes your migraines and how we can help treat them.

Headaches after exercise

Headaches after exercise

  Dealing with Headaches After Exercise: Causes and Remedies Exercise is universally acknowledged as a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you're hitting the gym, jogging through the...

read more