Self Care – Headache on the Top of Your Head

Self-Care includes
Activities to avoid and change,
Strategies for quick relief,
Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…


Activities To Avoid or Change:

Avoid sustained postures with your chin jutting forward, especially while twisting it from side to side, as when you are watching birds or leaning forward watching tennis.

Common versions of this today is leaning forward and turning your head between two monitors or looking up at a high screen for long periods. Here’s a post to help you sit and work without pain.


For temporary relief:

Here’s a slick little
headache hack.

Place a small topical pain patch on the back of your neck right up against the base of your skull. The trigger point is right where that X lives in the pic but in the center works well.

After a few minutes, you will feel the hot/cool sensation from the patch. Tilt and turn your head a bit. Do it slowly and take it far enough to get a little stretch in your neck. Usually, there will be some clicks as the headache dissipates. Patches from Salonpas work well. They’re available at most drugstores and on Amazon. I keep some on hand.


Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:

Do The Box

Do the whole routine at the top and bottom of your neck. Pay attention to the sensitivity of stretches #2 and #3 at the top of your neck. It’s important that you do the whole routine as this muscle is strongly balanced against the muscles in stretches #9 and #10.

Go back and redo stretches #2, #3, #4 and#5 where it was sensitive and tight at the top of your neck. Also, redo stretches #9 and #10 but ice along the back of your neck instead of along the SCM.

This post has a protocol that is more intense than The Box but is better at correcting the structural problems of Forward-Head posture.

It is worth doing every day if you want to make faster, longer-lasting changes in how FHP perpetuates this pattern.

Extra Stiff and Painful?

When turning your head is very limited by pain, more than one of the muscles that creates a “stiff neck” is involved. Check out these posts on a stiff neck.

In this case, if the problem does not resolve with home care, consider professional help from your bodyworker. They will offer quicker, longer-lasting results.



Yoga Corner

Revolved Triangle Pose by examinedexistence.com

After a good warm-up of poses that tilt and roll the neck around, it will be the twisting poses, like this modified triangle pose, or warrior that release this muscle.


Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…

Sometimes the headache at the top of the head is caused by this muscle. It has a different focus in self-care strategies and some different symptoms that might indicate that it is a more appropriate choice for effective relief. Take a look at this post.

There are trigger point patterns
that have similar areas of referral
and impaired activities.

Look at these posts on cervicogenic headaches and this post on a headache beside the crown.


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

Optimizing Tension for
the Best Day Ever

This post explores this idea and optimizing the ever-present tension in our lives for our best performance.

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.

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