Understanding Trigger Points – Pain In The Base Of The Head With Earache

This is one of the trigger points that refers a pattern of parasympathetic phenomena. That means that instead of pain, we get an irritated organ. In this case, an earache.

This is a particularly interesting post for me because I had this headache this evening. I got the headache and sinus problems yesterday. I had all that sinus pressure and earache that felt like a sinus infection. I used the neti pot and some other stuff but the headache and stuffy ears continued. I got relief with ice-n-stretch. I’ll show you how to do that in a post soon.

Headache at the base of your head with earache.

This pattern is a headache the top of your neck and at base of your head. With that ache, comes irritated, stuffy ears.  This comes from the rectus capitis anterior and lateralis that strap the atlas onto the base of the head.

People with this headache come in and complain of the ache in the back of their head. They often tell me that they’ve had an earache. This seldom occurs by itself and usually involves working with a number of joints and muscles at the top of the neck.

There are a few headaches that create pain at the base of the head but they all seem to be connected to an atlas that is stuck. As part of connecting the problem to the muscle with NMT assessment, I ask to be specific about where the real target is located and to understand the consistency of trigger point patterns.

Because the atlas is heavily involved in tilting the head in a “yes” nod, you’d think this was mostly caused by the strain or repetition while tilting your head. Usually, that tilting happens with a twist, which bumps that atlas more to one side. The gal in this picture that is talking on her cell while applying make-up and driving might just create this problem.

More commonly, this comes from muscles that tighten to protect swallowing with an irritated throat. That’s right, trigger points protect more than just joints. The headache and ear problem from a “stuck” trigger point may continue for a while after the sore throat is gone. Relieving the trigger point and getting the atlas back in place while the throat is still sore consistently speeds the recovery when the throat and ear are still irritated. Your NMT may not see you, however while you are contagious.

Your NMT can help you with this headache and earache. Some of them can also release the palatini muscles in the throat that help the ears tubes to drain. The next time you have an earache and headache, try rubbing an ice-cube on the back of your neck for a few seconds followed by some light stretching. This referral has similarities to the patterns of cervical multifidi, infraspinatus, middle trapezius semispinalis cervicis. Your NMT can figure that out and help you with a more complete and lasting solution.

Tony Preston sees clients in Atlanta, GA. He has authored a number of texts on neuromuscular and teaches Integrative Bodywork.

3 thoughts on “Understanding Trigger Points – Pain In The Base Of The Head With Earache

  1. Pingback: Relieve Headache Pressure - GoHealthy

  2. Hi, I believe this referral patter to be incorrect, in my personal experience the rictus capitols is not the cause of this particular pattern, it is intact from the longus capitis, which when active causes irritation to the rectus capitis making it very tender and causing what I call a duplicate phantom referral as even dry needling has no lasting effect on this type of referral, however light manipulation of the entire reachable length of the longus capitis has quite an astonishing effect

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