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Headaches can originate from many structures in the head, neck and upper back including joints, muscles and sinuses. Prolonged muscle tightness, stress-related tension, sinus pressure and poor posture are some of the most common causes of headaches.

Osteopathy treatment combined with self-management strategies, such as stretching, can often be one of the fastest remedies for relief of a headache. Gentle mobilisation of the spine and releasing of tight muscles around the back, neck and head can provide significant relief of headache symptoms. Osteopathic treatment may also help to improve circulation and removal of waste products that can often build up in areas of the body.

Adequate mineral intake can also enhance the effect of osteopathic treatment. Magnesium has benefits for headache sufferers as it can help to relieve muscular tension around the head and neck.

Many headache sufferers are among those who work at a desk in front of a computer. Sitting at a computer for prolonged periods can lead to poor posture and puts unhealthy pressure on the neck and upper back. These headaches are known as cervicogenic headaches.

Here are a few tips to avoid headaches at work:

1. Adjust your monitor height so that the top edge of your computer is at eye level. This will avoid excessive bending of your neck.

2. Be aware of the position of your shoulders while you are working on your computer to ensure that they are not slumped forward. Imagine that you have left the coat hanger in your t-shirt; this will cause a subtle widening of the collar bones and shoulders.

3. Position your key board at a distance which allows your elbows to be relaxed by your side and ideally at a 90 degree angle to the desk at which you are working. This will also allow your arms to be supported on the desk or arm rests of the chair and therefore eliminate the strain of your arms pulling on your shoulders and neck.

Dr Laura Mariani(Osteopath)

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