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Trigger Points Which Cause Headaches
  • Posted by:martin
  • Posted on : November 16, 2017

Trigger Points and Headaches

Trigger points, a common cause of headaches, can be found in the neck and shoulders, and of course the head and face. Massaging trigger points may help relieve referred headache pain.

A trigger point is a tender point in the muscle that refers pain to some other location in the body, typically an area around or close to the trigger point, but occasionally to a distant location. A latent trigger point is a tender point that refers pain only when touched or pressed.

Trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM), the thick muscle on either side of the neck, may refer pain to the ears, the top of the head, around and above the eyes, and into the cheek and chin. Trigger points can be responsible for ringing in the ears or earache as well. I have found that shiatsu to trigger points in the SCM can relieve a majority of headache pain.

Trigger points in the Suboccipital muscles, the soft tissue just below the skull on the back of the head, may create a “headband” headache which feels like it wraps around the head at about the level of the tops of the ears. I find myself instinctively rubbing this area when fatigued or if my head feels as though it’s being pressed in on both sides.

Splenius Capitus and Splenius Cervicis, muscles of the upper-back and posterior neck, can be responsible for pain on the top of the head as well as pain arching over the ears and toward the eyes.

Trigger points in the Masseter, the strong chewing muscle at the angle of the jaw, may refer pain to the teeth, jaw, ear, and eyebrow areas, and along with the Temporalis and Pterygoids muscles may be involved in TMJ disfunction.

The Temporalis is the large flat muscle on the side of the head above the ears; trigger points here may refer pain to the teeth, forehead, and upper jaw, as well as the top of the head.

Massaging trigger points until the contracted area of the muscle relaxes will help dissipate pain referred to another location on the head. It’s appropriate to massage the area which hurts, as I do during the massage session, but the trigger point or points must be addressed or the headache pain will persist after the session.