What Causes Headaches?

Do you get headaches? Do they happen daily, weekly or monthly? Seen your GP about them but still not really sure what’s causing them?

Then make sure you read this incredibly important article as I’m going to tell you what are the main culprits of most peoples headaches. Headaches are horrible. But what’s even more horrible is up to three quarters of people aged 18-65 have suffered a headache in the last year.

Now there are some sinister headaches out there but most people suffer from ones that can easily be treated and cured by a skilled physiotherapist. The problem is that not many people know this fact and that not every physio is skilled with the same tools.

Now let’s get into it.

So like I mentioned earlier there are some sinister nasties that, though rare, we will always rule out at the start.

But, for most people their headaches come down to 3 things – posture, their upper neck and the effect both of these have on their strength. Let’s go into them in more depth.

Headache cause number 1:


So, I know it’s not a sexy thing to talk about but posture really is the culprit to so many issues, especially headaches.

There are 2 main posture types that tend to get headaches. The more common one is being hunched in your upper, shoulders rolled forwards so their hands naturally rest on the front of their thighs and head poked forwards. This posture is super common with desk workers, teenagers, operators and anyone who has to work with their arms away from their body like a mechanic, someone who packs shelves and even mum and dads lifting kids in and out of the car. The problem with it is that it causes more pressure on the joints in your upper neck and they can refer pain into your head.

The next posture is less common and commonly missed as a problem by health professionals. This is the person with a very upright flat upper back and neck. These people tend to have less of an issue with stiffness but more of a hard time using their postural muscles to keep everything in line. They tend to be the ones that hold their head a few degrees rotated to one side or side bent as their muscles struggle to find the mid-line every time.

Headache cause number 2:

The upper neck

The idea of referred pain isn’t particularly new. For the joints in your upper neck, they can refer pain into your neck, base of skull, head, jaw, eyes, sinus regions and face in general. Depending on the circumstances the pain may also not always be referred into the same region. This means that someone who has headaches may have more than one form of headache and require different treatment for each headache referral source.

Headache cause number 3:

Poor strength.

Now it can be a bit hard to say whether the poor strength leads to the bad posture or the bad posture leads to the strength issues. Once you do have the abnormal posture it changes the way gravity falls on your muscles and makes them behave differently. All of a sudden muscles that you should only use occasionally are being used 24/7 like a postural muscle. This causes them to fatigue, get tight and, just like after a big gym session, get sore.

Hunched posture people need to strengthen not just around their upper necks but also their shoulders and all the way down to their lower back and pelvis. And no, this isn’t just the strength to make them stand up straight. It’s the strength to be able to lift heavy objects, push and pull things quickly, respond to jolts and so on without their neck being strained. We get great results for these patients in our strength and conditioning classes where each patient gets a personalised exercise routine and they get constant feedback from our highly skilled physios running the classes.

For the flat back posture people they need more joint position exercises – kind of like balance exercises for your neck and upper back. We use a variety of tools with these people but we love using our motion guidance laser trainer to help them develop this control and strength.

The big thing is… YOU DON’T NEED TO PUT UP WITH HEADACHES. You just need to get the right assessment and the right plan to banish them for good.

If you’d like to get these results too then click HERE to book online or give us a call on (07) 4999 9773 so we can get you back to doing what you want to do and what you love.

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