Therapist Notes – Neck-ache, headache, eye-ache

Trigger points in the splenius cervicis near the third cervical vertebrae create this pattern. Neuromuscular therapy and direct release on the trigger point is more effective when preceeded by upper cervical releases.

The tendons in the pocket between the trapezius and upper ribs also release more comfortably and with longer lasting results when the local joints are mobilized beforehand.

Start by Understanding the Anatomy.
About the coloring of the illustrations…

This muscle straps down other muscles while it helps to turn and bend the neck. You can read more about it in this post on splenius cervicis.


Easy release and lasting results are all about getting the middle and lower cervical vertebrae balanced. Start with the atlas for the best results. In this case, the atlas is usually displaced anteriorly. Start by evaluating and mobilizing the atlas.

Proprioceptive input from the third cervical governs this trigger point. The lower cervical nerve roots innervate the muscle. Evaluate the cervical vertebrae. Use static mobilizations or strain-counterstain to resolve cervical displacements. Trigger points in the multfidi muscles can be used to indicate cervical joint dysfunction.

Release remaining trigger points in the lamina groove.

Extend the inferior glides of the cervical lamina routine into the upper thoracics to help release this muscle.

Release the splenii tendons,
if they still need it.

Usually, the splenius cervicis trigger point near C2 is released. If not, this routine targets the tendons but can be rough on the thumb and painful for clients without the pre-release of the rib heads and anterior cervicals. This protocol requires a little deeper penetration for the splenius cervicis.



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

Is the pain from
degenerative discs or
trigger points in the muscle?

This post discusses the differences in pain from disc problems and pain from trigger points. Who should you see to help with your pain?

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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*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read, more accessible, and
to include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there will be inconsistency in formatting, content, and readability until we get the old posts updated. Please excuse our mess.