Your pain pattern,
What aggravates it,
How to get relief,
How People Describe This Pain Pattern
People touch a spot above their eye and say, “The headache is right here. This spot on my forehead hurts.” When both sides of the neck are involved, they rub their hand across their forehead and say that it hurts all the way across.
Clients usually don’t tell their massage therapist that their ears bother them as they don’t think it is a muscle problem. If I ask about their ears they usually talk about itching, being sensitive, or buzzing, instead of pain.
The other section of sternocleidomastoid creates pain around the brow and is activated more by pulling forward with a twisting motion.
How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern
This trigger point is activated by pulling the head forward in a sustained or repetitive motion. Usually, the chin is tucked, but not always. People also get this from pulling forward to read their laptops.
I had a client come in with this headache from reading her iPad like the gal in this picture. As her arms get tired and drop, this muscle tightens to pull the head forward.
An ultrasound tech who was always looking down sharply at clients had problems with this headache as well. This could also be caused by pulling forward in a car seat that is leaned back or any motion that thrusts the head forward while keeping the chin down. My gym partner came in with this pattern this morning and didn’t think he was doing this until I made the motion where I slowly turned my head down toward my feet. Then he said, “Oh yeah, I watch the TV that way before I go to sleep.”
The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain
This headache pattern is caused by a trigger point in the sternocleidomastoid muscle in your neck. It is a complex muscle and is associated with a number of other maladies like anxiety, sinus problems, tinnitus, and blurred vision.
Getting Relief on Your Own
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.
Treatment Notes for Therapists
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.
Please note that some of the product links in the posts are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission when you purchase through that link. I’ve personally used most of these products and believe are genuinely helpful. Some products aren’t appropriate for me so I recommend it based on my experience with clients or the reviews online. The commissions I make are small and not worth promoting lesser products that would not produce suitable value. And please note, I do not advocate buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.