Understanding Trigger Points- Headache All Over Or In A Band Around The Head

Client’s Description

When this headache is very active, people wave their hands around their head and say that they have a headache all over.  Sometimes, when I ask, the details tell me that it is not  this headache and they are just overwhelmed by some other headache pain. When it is particularly bad, people refer to this  as a migraine. If they can’t get specific, I ask them how it started or when it is the worst.

When this headache is less active people come in and talk about a band of tension around their head. When it is on one side they will explain the tension around the ear and will later talk about how it extends to the eye or back of the head. People seldom connect it to the spot at the base of their head.

When this occurs on only one side, people have a headache on one side and restriction when turning toward the other side. This is the is specific to the obliquus capitis inferior. When you feel around in the area where the green asterisk is shown in the picture, it will seem fuller, stiffer and more sensitive than the other side. This is much more common on the right and restricts turning the head to the left.

This wine is too pricey, don’t you think, honey?

Like the headache on the top of your head this is created by tilting movements to an extreme, like painting the molding. It is also aggravated by rocking the head with lots of little repetition, like when you’re using reading glasses while reading a menu and discussing the prices of a long wine list.

Like the headache on the forehead, this can also be activated by laying on your back and tilting your head forward. This headache, however, is not created by the tilting and lifting motion. Clients get this headache when the arm of a couch or the shampoo bowl at the salon presses into these muscles, aggravating the muscles and displacing the joint.

Your neuromuscular therapist has other reasons to work in this area. It helps to balance the atlas, which is a key part of The Pain Organization, which I’ll talk about some in upcoming posts.

banners-tbg-tagline-contactSelf Care

Heat in this area will feel good at first but may make your headache get worse a couple of hours after you apply the heat. If that happens, use ice. The Ice and Stretch routine really helps.

Your neuromuscular therapist has other reasons to work in this area. It helps to balance the atlas, which is a key part of The Pain Organization, which I’ll talk about some in upcoming posts.

Therapy Notes

oif-sub-occipitals oit-rectus-capitis-posterior-major oit-rectus-capitis-posterior-minor oit-obliquus-capitis-superior oit-obliquus-capitis-inferior
Sub-occipitals strap the head on to the first 2 vertebrae. They have a direct bearing on and are strongly affected by the atlanto-occipital joint and the atlanto-ondontoid joint.

Upper cervical function and alignment strongly influences muscle tension, pain patterns, visceral function and postural alignment throughout the body. This area should be addressed early in the session so that other areas respond well and have longer lasting results.

Similar Patterns

This pattern can easily be confused for the patterns created when other trigger point happen in combination.

Click on these categories to see if there is a referral pattern that better describes your concerns.

tags-headache fi-headache-spot-above-temple fi-headache-around-the-eyebrow fi-neck-head-eye-ache fi-headache-at-the-temple


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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