Headaches are a common occurrence amongst our population, and especially desk/computer workers.

There are many causes of headaches and migraines, but we will limit our focus on desk-sitting causes.


Other than some visual causes from staring at the computer screen, most desk-sitting causes of headaches are due to muscular imbalances of the neck and upper torso region. The end result is muscular tightness of the deep occipital muscles, amongst others, that lead to “tension” type headaches. Typically the headache feels like it is behind your eyes or at the base of your skull.

The Upper Crossed Syndrome is a muscular imbalance of the upper torso and neck that rounds the shoulders and causes a forward head posture.


The problem with the forward head posture is that it places excessive stress on the posterior neck muscles to hold the head up. The head weighs on average 8-12 lbs, so imagine holding a 10 lb bowling ball with your arms stretched out in front of you versus close to your chest. The 10lbs feels a lot heavier when held away from your chest because the force of gravity becomes greater due to an increased distance from the fulcrum or center of gravity.

If your head is set forward a couple of inches, this places the head forward of center of gravity and places the deep posterior neck muscles at a biomechanical disadvantage.

Over time the upper posterior neck tightness will produce a referred pain pattern in the neck or cause headaches.

The Upper Crossed Syndrome can also lead to mid back pain, shoulder pain and other pain syndromes. One way to prevent this cause of headaches is to ensure chest/shoulder flexibility, mid back strength, posterior neck flexibility and activation of the deep neck flexors.

If you are currently suffering from headaches you should get evaluated and possibly treated for this condition. Treatment methods including:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Active Release Technique
  • Corrective exercises
  • Ergonomic advice
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