Poor posture and long periods of inactivity can contribute to an increase in migraine frequency
Whether it’s for work or school, many of us feel tied to our computer screens and desks. Long periods of sitting and increased time using technology can have negative impacts on posture, neck pain, and headaches, including migraine.
We asked Ali Ladak, PT, DPT, and Christina Pettet PT, DPT, who are both physical therapists at Penn Therapy & Fitness University City and specialize in headache, for tips on how to improve your posture and assist with management of migraine.
6 Tips to Improve your Posture
- Focus on your seated posture
Whether you’re working from an office or your bedroom, good posture is important. It’s especially important for people with migraine because research shows they have more neck dysfunction than the general population, says Dr. Ladak.
For the best seated posture, sit with your head and neck upright in a neutral position. Rest your feet flat on the floor (or supported by foot rest) and avoid sitting on your feet or crossing your legs. Keep your arms and elbows close to your body, use an arm rest for support and keep your wrists in a neutral position. Sit with your hips fully back in your chair and with your back supported. Try placing a small rolled towel behind your lower back to decrease the space between the chair and your back.
- Try a recovery pose
One way to reduce tension and physical stress when you feel a headache coming on is to try a recovery pose. To do a recovery pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and gently clasp your hands together behind your head and neck. Allow your elbows to relax toward the floor until there is a slight, comfortable stretching sensation. Focus on your breathing and relax; this should not feel painful. Hold for 1-2 minutes (as long as it is comfortable), lifting elbows for a break as needed. Repeat. This should not be irritating or heighten your headache. Stop if that occurs.
These gentle strategies can reduce the intensity and duration of migraine attacks or even stop them from occurring, says Dr. Ladak.