Understanding Trigger Points – Headache Spot Just Above The Temple

Client’s Description

People complain of pain in their temple(s) but touch the spot just above the temple. It takes a little investigative work to nail the right trigger point.

At times this occurs by itself. Often, this headache pain occurs with other pain patterns. It can be hard to single out without specific questions. It occurs most often with the headache at the back of your head. This one compares most closely to the headache in the temple but notice that it is higher and without the neck and eye tension.

Most often, clients say that they got it from “sleeping wrong.” They’ll complain about a click or pop in the top of their neck that started the headache. I’ve had that happen to me while reading in bed before sleep. I’ll get a little click with a light headache and then wake with a dull headache in the morning.


Self Care

This can be created by the same rocking, tilting and support from a hard surface as the headache all-over or in a band which focuses over the ear instead. Sorry that this one is more complicated but the good news is that it happens less often. Often, this created by bending the head back sharply like when you lay on your stomach and looking up at a TV.

The ice and stretch routine will be helpful with this and may offer complete relief.

This is similar to several other headache patterns. See your neuromuscular therapist to sort that out and for longer lasting relief.

Therapy Notes

oit-semispinalis-capitisThe trigger point is in the semispinalis capitis, which originates from the vertebrae of the upper back and lower neck and attaches to the back of the head, trapping the upper cervical vertebrae in between.

This trigger point in semispinalis capitis is all about getting the joints right between occiput, atlas and axis. If you don’t work atlas directly, this can be accomplished with sub-occipital routines or positional release techniques. Cranial work along the occipitomastoid suture helps as well.

Similar Patterns

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

tags-headache tags-4 tags-brow-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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