Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,
The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get relief,
Want to skip ahead?
Here’s a link to my post about
getting relief on your own.
How People Describe This Pain Pattern
Here, you’ll find information about the two trigger points that create headaches on the side of the head, above, and behind the ear.
There are 3 or 4 headache patterns that come off the trigger points in the temporalis. Each one has a band of pain that extends upward. And, most are associated with sensitivity in the upper teeth. Like the bands of pain, the trigger points in the front create sensitivity in the front teeth, and the trigger points in the back create sensitivity in the back teeth.
Pain Over the Ear
People complain of a strip of pain above or behind the ear. Mainly, it occurs when a hat presses into the side of their head. When the headache is directly over the ear, there is often tooth sensitivity in their upper molars. However, people seldom mention these tooth problems to the bodyworker – unless that bodyworker specializes in cranial work.
When suspected, the bodyworker feels for a taut strip of muscle extending away from the ear toward the band of pain.
Pain Behind the Ear
This strip of headache behind the head comes from a band of tight muscle behind the ear. A tight band is almost always palpable and tender to the touch. Just feeling for the tight band often aggravates the headache.
Very Similar Pain Pattern, Different Muscle
The pattern in this post can also feel like it is above or behind the ear. This one can also feel a lot like a migraine. These people are not bothered by a hat. Instead, they often wear a hat to reduce the headache by shielding their eyes.
The pattern is, however, quite different. Instead of a strip up the side of the head, this feels more like a band through the top of the ear.
Also, if this comes from bumping your head, you probably hit the front and snapped your head back.
How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern
These two trigger points are more likely to be caused by a blow to the head and aggravated by a tight headband. They, of course, also get irritated by dentistry or chewing something like ice or taffy. However, this usually comes from a sharp blow to the side or back of the head. It usually involves something hard like a baseball or the corner of a cabinet.
The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain
Anatomy – Throacic Outlet
The anatomy of these structures is important to understand the syndrome. This post walks through the structures one at a time.
The temporalis muscle has a tough fascial covering and seldom relaxes. This post has more about the anatomy of the temporalis muscle.
Getting Relief on Your Own
This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.
Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise
Support Integrative Works to
and produce great content.
You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. In addition, we will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you so much for being so supportive.
Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?
This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.