Pain at the Base of the Head and Under Shoulder Blade

Client Description

With this trigger point, people complain about tension and a focus pain and tension at the base of their head. When I press for more detail, they may tell me about the vague pain and tension in their neck and in the shoulder. It is easy to feel the tender lump on the side of the pain about halfway down the neck.

People complain more about achy pain than restricted movement. It is This muscle doesn’t create many restrictions in the mobility of the neck like levator scapula does, which creates a similar pattern. If you have a lot of stiffness, refer to these posts on stiff neck.

Often, I have a mild version of this while I’m seated at the therapy table. Gently lifting my head and using stretch #2 and #3 from the Self-Care Post creates a little shift in the mid-neck and immediate relief.



How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern


People are seldom aware of how this particular trigger point is started although many complain about doing too much computer work or sleeping in an awkward position.

Also, this is one of the patterns that are commonly treated after whiplash.

It is worth noting that there are many trigger points that have similar patterns of pain. People are usually clear about how those started and when it bothers them. Browse at this collection of posts on Forward-Head Posture and see if there is a trigger point that better matches your pattern.


The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Effective relief starts with an understanding of the anatomy.

About the coloring of the illustrations…

Multifidi and rotatores are interspinous muscles that manage tension and balance between vertebrae.


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 Therapists

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

Optimizing Tension for
the Best Day Ever

This post explores this idea and optimizing the ever-present tension in our lives for our best performance.

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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