In this video we are exploring the link between some headaches and posture. Poor posture can be the link to some persistent headaches and when this issue is addressed, the headaches often improve.

There are many reasons why headaches can occur. As long as any serious causes of the headache are ruled out and things like dehydration are also addressed, then we can start looking at some functional, mechanical or postural problems in the neck.

Our chiropractors firstly evaluate posture and then evaluate the alignment of the spine and the presence any joint dysfunction. It is important to address mechanical, functional and postural issues that a person presents to us with. We often find that the postural imbalances from postural disturbances are missed and can be the final piece of the puzzle to help that person.

The postural distortion that we are referring to in this video is the ‘PROXIMAL CROSS SYNDROME’. This posture is a functional issues where we see imbalances in muscles in the upper body. Imagine a person from the side (profile) and draw a cross through their upper body.We have some muscles that are tight, the pectoralis muscles in the front upper chest and the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles in the upper part of the back. We also get weakening of the deep neck flexors, that sit in the front of the neck and the scapular or shoulder blade stabilising muscles in the middle back.

Common causes of ‘PROXIMAL CROSS SYNDROME’ :

  1. after prolonged sitting or standing 
  2. in the ‘flight or fight’ situation where one is about to ‘fight’ or run for our lives, due to a perceived threat. This threat in modern society does not come in the form of a lion or wildebeest, but in the form of traffic, deadlines, or juggling too many things in our daily life.

– rounding of the shoulders (due to the tight pectoralis muscles and weak shoulder blade muscles)

– forward head position

– tilting of the head back

– flexing or bending of the upper body

Could this be you? Or someone you know?

Prolonged stress or poor posture due to lack of postural awareness or due to a lack of appropriate exercise can lead to this ‘proximal cross syndrome’. It is important to address all quadrants of the cross and strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight muscles.

Here are a couple of reasons that the ‘proximal cross’ posture can lead to headaches:

– the forward head position can cause tightening of the sub-occipital muscles in the upper neck. Prolonged tension here can lead to pain at the back of the head or even headaches.


– weakening for the deep neck flexors can create instability in the head posture and aggravate head pain


-tight upper back muscles can cause pulling where they insert into the back of the skull, causing head pain.