Pain in the base of the head and with earache is a referral from a muscle is deep in the upper neck. It’s behind the soft palate, and can be difficult to release on your own. In most cases, these strategies can be effective, especially when used over several days.
– Activities to avoid and change,
– Strategies for quick relief,
– Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
– Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…
Activities To Avoid or Change:
Quit craning your neck while twisting your head so much. Fix the ergonomics at your desk or where you watch TV. You can alternate activities that look up, like bird watching, with flower planting. Take that selfie with your other hand once in a while. Use the stretches below afterward, if you can’t avoid being so outdoorsy, productive, and cute. For the more sedentary lifestyle, change hands when you’re reading a book. Change ends of the couch when you’re watching TV.
Here’s a post with a couple of different approaches to sitting at your desk without creating pain. It offers a couple of approaches to getting comfortable at a desk. Some people prefer to be more active, others prefer more support. It also offers some ideas for accessories, like affordable stand-up desks and footrests.
For Temporary Relief:
Place one of the small Salonpas patches right where I’ve indicated in the picture. The top edge should go against that bump near the base of the back of your head. They’re available at every drugstore and even cheaper on Amazon.
The patch will loosen the whole area so that all of the muscles work become better balanced. Gentle tilting and turning of your head from side to side loosen the joints so that the muscles relax.
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:
I’ve added a little extra TMJ work for this self-care post. It is usually helpful in resolving this problem, especially when there is aggravation in the ear or throat.
Ice-and-Stretch your TMJ.
Heres a simple protocol:
- Ice the muscles shown in red.
Using Ice-and-Stretch or AIS guidelines, stretch the TMJ with these 5 motions:
- Jaw protracted (underbite).
- Jaw retracted (overbite).
- Chin to the left.
- Chin to the right.
- Open mouth wide.
This consistently shows better results when both sides are stretched and the problematic area is revisited for an extra stretch afterward.
If you have ice available, the 4 repetitions of Ice-and-Stretch always seem faster, more effective and offer more relief than traditional AIS.
Your trigger point therapist 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. I’ve helped a lot of children with earaches by working that area in the back of the neck and cleared their Eustachian tubes.
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Avoid those headstands in yoga class. Even after eliminating pain and stabilizing the area, headstands can reactivate the patterns. I’ve looked at a number of Atlantoaxial structures in cadavers and on x-rays. Those bones remodel as we age. This change in shape modifies the slope of the joints. Some people are just not built to do headstands, even when they are young. If you have pain at the base of the head with an irritated ear, stop doing them or use a stool until you get that neck stabilized.
Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…
This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.
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This post is about the watershed moment that changed the direction of my bodywork. People would say that it is about treating at the source. I’d say that it is about understanding the governors and accessories in a pattern. This gives the therapist and client choices on how to plan on treating for relief or treating to create a body that is self-correcting.
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 major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it 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 inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.