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Headache on the Top of Your Head

Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,

The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get Relief,
and more…

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

Clients come in and touch the top of their heads, saying, “I have a headache on the top of my head.” Almost always, they lean forward with their chin up and turned to one side while talking. They will often bend at the waist while sitting to make this more comfortable.

Many of them complain of neck tension, especially when turning their head. They often note that it is tight where they touch near the top of the back of their neck. The headache is consistently more bothersome than neck tension.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

This one can be created by craning the neck forward while turning to one side. Several other posts feature muscles that create cervicogenic headaches associated with Forward-Head Posture.

The original research talked about it being a problem with bird watchers. I find that it is more common in people who lean forward toward their monitor while twisting to one side. I have also seen this from painting the molding. You could get it from watching TV at the sports bar, but looking down at the chicken wings and drinking beer breaks up the pattern, so I don’t see many of them.

This is more likely to become a problem when the neck is propped for long periods in one position. This could happen when one is sleeping or resting on their chin on their hand while using the computer.

This muscle is almost always involved in cases of vehicular whiplash.

The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

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

This muscle straps across the back of the neck and is involved in extending and rotating the head on the neck. This post tells you more about splenius capitis.

Very Similar Pain Pattern, Different Muscle

Sometimes the headache at the top of the head is caused by this muscle. It has a different focus in self-care strategies and some different symptoms that might lead you to more effective relief. Take a look at this post.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Recommendations.

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 Massage and Bodywork

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 improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.

Weekly Featured Post

This post is about the watershed moment that changed the direction of my bodywork. People would say that it is about treating at the source. I’d say that it is about understanding the governors and accessories in a pattern. This gives the therapist and client choices on how to plan on treating for relief or treating to create a body that is self-correcting.

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.

Question? Comment? Typo?
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*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

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