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Headache on the Top of Your Head

Table of Contents

Want to skip ahead?
Here’s a link to my post about
getting relief on your own.

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

Clients touch the top of their heads, saying, “I have a headache on the top of my head.” Often, they lean forward with their chin up and turned to one side while talking. As well, they tend to slump forward at the waist while sitting to make this more comfortable.

Neck Tension too.

This headache comes from a tight neck muscle. Accordingly, many people 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. Currently, it seems more common in people who lean toward their monitors 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 headache on top of the head is more likely to become a problem when supporting the neck for long periods in one position. It often happens 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

Musculoskeletal Anatomy

About these Illustrations…

This muscle straps across the back of the neck to extend and rotate the head on the neck. This post tells you more about the anatomy of 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 on 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 Strategies

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.

Therapy 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.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

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