Therapist Notes – Semispinalis Capitis


The trigger point is in the semispinalis capitis, which originates from the vertebrae of the upper back and lower neck and attaches to the back of the head, trapping the upper cervical vertebrae in between. This creates a tingling in the back of the head. That trigger point is located somewhere C5 and is usually release in the mobilization of the atlas or, more likely, in the cervical lamina groove protocol, afterward.

This trigger point that creates the headache above the temple released when the the joints are mobilized between occiput, atlas and axis. If you don’t work atlas directly, this can be accomplished with sub-occipital routines or positional release techniques. Cranial work along the occipitomastoid suture helps as well.

This trigger point is strongly governed by the position of the atlas. If you are trained in atlas mobilizations, here is a post for you to review.

This protocol mobilizes the atlas and releases muscular restrictions in the suboccipital area. This is key to resolving this trigger point.

Spens a little extra time on the superior nuchal line. This trigger point lives between the nuchal lines.

This protocol will clean up any other trigger point activity in the splenius capitis muscle. Extend the strokes along the lamina groove into the upper thoracic area to cath the inferior portion of the muscle belly.

This protocol can be more meaningful when releasing the lower trigger point that produces the tingling in the back from greater occipital nerve entrapment.

From Neuromuscular Assessment:


This post has great follow-up information for your client, should the pattern reoccur.

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.

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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