The last few weeks, I’ve been having some horrible headaches. Nothing seems to touch them. I take pain killers, nothing. The heating pad hardly helps. And then I noticed that my shoulders were hunching up higher, muscles between my arms and neck tight and bulging.

So, naturally, I took to the internet for answers. No, my trapeziums were not overdeveloped, but they were under extreme tension. The tension pulled at my neck and, I believe, created a lovely tension headache.

Since I don’t like getting tension headaches, I tried to figure out how to release the tension, other than getting a massage, which I’d actually love to do, but can’t afford at the moment. The recommendations that I decided to try involved my old nemesis: posture.

If I had a dollar for every time my dad told me to stand up straight, I’d have a heaping pile of cash. I’ve never been good about standing or sitting up straight. Every once in a while, I’d make a concerted effort to do it, but it’s never stuck. I even read that when you work on pull ups, your posture should improve, so I kind of expected something to happen when I started getting pull ups. But the only thing I got was tension headaches.

And, according to my research, I needed to relax my upper traps (the part I could see bulging up a bit) by pulling my shoulder blades together behind my back with my mid and lower traps. I needed to hold my head high, centered over the spinal column rather than letting it lean forward. In short, I needed to improve my posture with these new muscles I’d developed, rather than letting my bad old habits give me headaches.

So far, the practice seems to be working. I’m being conscious of my posture, and my headaches have not returned. Of course, it’s only been a week. And next week I’ll be going on a backpacking trip, and I’ll be too tired to be tense.

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