Understanding Trigger Points – Headache Around The Brow

Client Description

SCM headache around the temple

People come in and trace around their brow with their fingers and say, “I have a headache right here.” When I ask, they sometimes describe the pain behind the ear and might talk about the pain on top of their head.

The trigger points in this muscle do more than create pain. They irritate your ears, vision and sinuses. Those are clues for your neuromuscular therapist too. This muscle is in a sheath with the vagus nerve and has a strong influence on mood, and some internal organ responses.

See the little pain area under the jaw? In a statistically significant number of cases, this trigger point makes that sharp pain when you swallow. Bet you didn’t think of that as a muscle problem. Try the stretches in the Self-Care section and see if the sharp pain in the throat goes away.


This section of this muscle, the sternocleidomastoid, is aggravated when you lean back in a chair or on the couch and pull your head forward and off to one side to watch TV. You might get it from sleeping with your head sharply turned to one side. Sitting up in bed and reading the book off to one side strains the muscle too. In the photo below, Marilyn is in the position to create the show-stopping headache. It is even worse without the supporting pillow. There are more examples of how to change your posture in the Self-Care section.

Get relief
with Self Care.

This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise.

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.


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

Customize Your Desk Area
To Avoid Pain
While Working and Afterward

We spend a lot of time reading and working on our computers. Here is a simple guide for the more active, athletic body and one that needs more support. There are also suggestions for accessories that make your days at work (and afterward) more comfortable.

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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