Self Care-Cervicogenic Headache

Self Care – Headache on the Top of Your Head

Table of Contents

Here you will find ways to get relief on your own for the headache on the top of your head. You can also read more about how people describe this pain and the activities that typically create it in this post.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

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

Common versions of this today involve 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.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.

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.

Quick, Posture Correcting Exercise

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

Daily practice creates faster, longer-lasting changes in how FHP perpetuates this pattern.

Is Your Neck Extra Stiff and Painful?

Sometimes, turning your head is strongly limited by pain. This indicates that 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 relief, have longer-lasting results, and keep you focused on effective self-care.

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you
and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at

Yoga Corner

Triangle Pose by yoga garden sf

Warm up with poses that tilt and roll the neck around.

Now that you’re warmed up

Afterward, the twisting poses, like this modified triangle pose or warrior II, release this muscle. In this pose, the splenius capitis facing us is stretched by turning her head. The one on the backside is strongly contracted.

Very Similar Pain Pattern, Different Muscle

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

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you
and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

Question? Comment? Typo?

*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 include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

Tony Preston

Tony Preston, LMT has been treating adults and children since the early 90s. He has authored a number of texts on neuromuscular and craniosacral techniques. He has taught Neuromuscular Therapy for ASHA School of Massage and craniosacral the National Institute of Craniosacral Studies. He currently teaches seminars in Integrative Craniosacral techniques at The Body Guild.

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