Best Therapy for Neck Pain and Headaches

Do you realise that the majority of neck pain and headaches you might be experiencing actually originate from a trigger point in muscles located in your neck and your skull? And a trigger point is actually an area of micro cramp of muscles. Now these trigger points have very specific pain radiating patterns, so they can radiate pain, and it can cause a pain in the back of your skull, on your temporals, on the side of your head, behind your eye, the front of your head, all different areas. So what I’m going to do in this article is I’m going to demonstrate to you the five most common pain radiating patterns from these trigger points. And I’ll give you trigger point therapy and massage, self massage, so you can help to reduce the neck pain and the headaches. Okay. Let’s get started.

Now, the first set of muscles I’d like to discuss with you is a group of muscles called the Suboccipital muscles. And they sit, literally, between the skull and the neck. They connect your neck to your skull, and a typical pain radiating pattern for these muscles, is you experience pain at the back of your skull, the side, and even the front of your skull, up until your eyebrows. Now, the first technique I want to demonstrate to you is a self massage technique. And what we need to do is you need to go in the dimples, just below your skull, so make sure you tuck your chin in to expose these muscles a little bit more, find these dimples, and all you do now is you move your thumbs from the inside to the outside, and you move it tightly to tuck your chin in, really, really put pressure on and go deep into these muscles, yeah? Do it for about five minutes. You can reduce the friction here as well, by maybe using a little bit of olive oil or massage oil, or maybe a bit of moisturiser, in this area here, so you don’t get so much skin irritation and you just massage him and go all out here for about five minutes. And that will already reduce a little bit of the pain.

The second thing you can do is what we call “Trigger-point Therapy”. And what you do with Trigger-point Therapy is you apply a prolonged pressure on these muscles. So, again, you find this area here and organise your tuck-in. You dig your thumbs in, like that, and you hold this for about 10 seconds, or until the pain subsides, and you release it again. And you do this about 3 to 5 times. So tuck your chin in, so you expose the area, dig your thumbs into the side here, hold this for about 5 to 10 seconds and relax again. And that’s the second thing you can do for your suboccipital muscles. So the next muscle I’d like to discuss and demonstrate to you is a muscle called the “Temporalis muscle”. And this muscle sits on the side of your skull, and it’s associated with chewing, and often you find trigger points in this muscle where people tend to clench their teeth. So this muscle can radiate pain to your eye, it can even radiate pain into your mouth.

It radiates pain to the top of your skull, or even from the side to the back of your skull. So what you need to do is place your hands on your skull, just above the ears, and clench your teeth a few times. And you can feel this muscle coming, being activated, and coming out and in. And then what you need to do for self massage is you’re going to use the palms of your hands and apply a bit of pressure, coming top to bottom, so you apply pressure this way. I do this for about five minutes every day. Just apply a little bit of pressure. Well, actually, put quite a lot pressure, top to bottom, and that’s a lovely self massage technique to reduce the tension in the muscle and reduce headaches, and neck pain, for you as well. And the other technique you can use is what we call “Trigger-point Therapy”.

And with Trigger-point Therapy, you need to use your index finger, but you need to reinforce the index finger, by placing your middle finger on top of the index finger, so you can apply a bit more pressure. Then what you do is you clench your teeth a few times. If you can feel that muscle tensing up underneath your fingers, and all you do, is just, you feel for a really, really tender area, a trigger point. And once you find that area, what you do is you apply pressure quite, quite good pressure for about 10 to 12 seconds, or until the pain subsides. When it subsides, what you do is you move your finger a little bit to the back, top, the bottom, the front, doesn’t really matter, just in the area again, until you feel another bit of pain, hold the pressure again for 10 to 12 seconds and you continue until that’s gone. I do this for about 2 to 3 minutes a day. You should repeat it every day, for 2 to 3 minutes a day, and that will help to get rid of some trigger points in the temporal muscle. Another muscle which can commonly give facial pain, even an ear pain, is the Masseter muscle muscle. And the Masseter muscle is always also associated with chewing, and the Masseter muscle sits in this back corner of your jaw.

If you place your fingers on the back corner of your jaw and you clench your teeth, you can feel this muscle being activated. Now, the Masseter muscle can give a radiating pain into the ear, it gives radiating pain to your eyes, it gives radiating pain along the bottom of your jaw, and even the top of your jaw. So the first technique I need to demonstrate to you is a self-massage technique. Same as what we’ve done before. We’re using the palm of our hands. And all we do now, is we start halfway up the ears and we go down into… the back of our jaws. And you just move all the way down and you do this again for about 5 minutes. You come down, apply a good bit of pressure. This is a lovely self massage technique to start getting rid of those trigger points in the Masseter muscle. And the other technique is a “Trigger-point Therapy”. Again, using the index finger, reinforcing the index finger with the middle finger on top.

And all you do now, is you find tender points in the muscle, you can clench your teeth a few times to find where this muscle sits, yeah? And you find a tender point and as soon as you find a tender spot, you apply pressure on there. You hold this for about, 10 seconds, and you release it, and you can feel it, go, move your finger a bit more to the back, and apply a bit of pressure again. So this muscle here, as I said before, it can give you a pain, even in your ear. It gives you pain along the jaw, the top, and it even gives you a pain into the eye. So well worth finding, find the trigger points in this muscle, which will help you again with your headache, facial pain, and, possibly, even eye pain and ear pain. So the muscle I’m discussing now is like the mother of all trigger-point muscles. and it’s called the Sterno Cleido Mastoid muscle.

And this muscle sits in the front of your neck. So if you turn your head towards the, in this case, the left, and I’m tilting my right ear now a little bit towards the floor, you can see this muscle coming out at the front here. So I’ll just demonstrate the other side, I’m turning to the right now and put my left ear to the floor. You can see the muscle coming out here. And this muscle can have a trigger-point all over, throughout the whole range and these trigger-points can give a radiating pain to, obviously, the side of your neck, the back of your skull, the side of your skull, your eye, top of your skull, even in your face. It can give you trigger-points of radiating pain everywhere. So a trigger-point therapy is a little bit difficult, in this muscle, because it’s quite a hard muscle to do trigger-point on. But what you can do is a self massage technique and a stretch. So for the self massage technique, what you do is, again, I’m going to demonstrate to you on the right Sterno Cleido Mastoid muscle.

So I’m turning my head towards the left and tilt my right ear to the floor. You can see it coming up, and what you need to do, is you need to use a pinch grip. So grip it between your index finger and your thumb. And all you do now is you make a rolling movement from the bottom of the muscle, to the top of the muscle. So you make a rolling movement here, do it from the bottom of the muscle to the top of your muscle. You can do an awful lot of harm, so make sure you have a good enough pressure on there. And you do this for, just again, 5 minutes, and you can really loosen this muscle. And, again, it can probably reproduce the headache and the facial pain that you might be experiencing.

Anyway, it’s a very, very good technique to use. Just to demonstrate it on the other side as well, ’cause it’s a little bit difficult to get your head around. So turn your head to the right, in this case, tilt your left ear towards the floor. You can feel– see the muscle, here? Use your pinch grip, with your thumb and your index finger. And you just literally go top to bottom, and you go all the way to the top, just where it touches in your skull. It’s a little bit hard to get in, all the way at the top, but the majority of the trigger-points are on the low part of the muscle on your way, so you go up and down. And that’s how you do it, again, for a few minutes a day.

And you can repeat this multiple times a day. Now you can also stretch this muscle. And this is what we’re going to do next. So next, I’m going to demonstrate the stretch for the Sterno Cleido Mastoid muscle, as you can see, I’m on my bench. You can do this at home using your bed, using a sofa, but what you need to do is you need to lay over the edge, with your head over the edge of the sofa or the bed. So your head has to tilt backwards. So, the first thing you need to do is I’m going to demonstrate this for my left Sterno Cleido Mastoid muscle. So turn your head towards the right, in this case, yeah? And then tilt behind , all the way backwards, towards the right, and my head is now tilting below 45 degrees of the horizontal.

So I’m holding my shoulders, nice and down. I want you to feel the stretch here at the front of this muscle. So hold this, again, for about 10 to 12 seconds. And repeat about 5 to 7 times. And you can repeat this for the other side as well. Another very, very common trigger-point can be found in the Upper Trapezius muscle, which essentially sits on the top of your shoulder. And this muscle can give a– This trigger-point in the muscle can give a radiating pain up to the side of your neck, over your ear, side of your skull, even to the front. Often, also on the temporal area on the side there.

So what you need to do for Trigger-point Therapy is you need to find the middle of the shoulder. Yeah, the middle of the top. Just go back a little bit, about half an inch, one centimetre, one and a half centimetres, and just poke around, in the middle somewhere. And you will definitely find a trigger point here. It is such a common trigger-point, such a well-known trigger-point. You would definitely find it. So once you find it, you’ll probably be able to reproduce the pain in the neck and the side of your skull. Once you have it, or just local tenderness, but often it will give that radiating pain as well. And then you find a trigger-point. You hold it again, apply pressure on it some firm pressure, 10 to 12 seconds, or until the pain subsides.

And when it does subside, just move your finger a little bit, in the same area, just go forwards and backwards or left or right, a little bit, until you find the other tender spot. And again, you hold that pressure for about 10 seconds, again, or until the pain subsides. You do this, in total, for about 2 to 3 minutes, and you can do this multiple times a day. Now, a self massage technique is a little bit more difficult, but what you can do is you can stretch the muscles. So that’s what I’m going to demonstrate now. So I’m going to demonstrate the stretch on the right Trapezius muscle.

What you need to do, first of all, is hold on with your right hand to the seat of your chair, so your pull your shoulder, nice and down. Now I’m going to tilt my left ear to my left shoulder. I’m dropping my head forward a little bit, and I’m going to turn my head towards the muscle, towards the left. So I already feeling it stretching out. I can accentuate this even more by placing my left hand on top of, almost on top of, touching my right ear and pulling my head a little bit more towards the left, so it’ll only be stretching out on the side ear. So hold this again, for 10 seconds, repeat 3 to 5 times. You can do this multiple times a day. So again, for the right side, hold on to the seat of your chair, tilt left ear to your left shoulder, drop your head forwards a little bit, turn your head towards the right, yeah. And then you pull, with your left hand, and pull your head a little bit more towards the left. Now I’ll just demonstrate it on the left side as well, ’cause it can be quite a complicated muscle to stretch out.

So I’m going to hold on, with my left hand, to the seat of the chair, tilt my right ear to my right shoulder, drop my head forwards a little bit. Turn now towards the left. I can feel the stretch, and now I’m pulling on the side, and again, as I said before, hold this for about 10 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times. You can use multiple times a day. That’s how you do Trigger-point Therapy, and a stretch, on the Upper Trapezius muscle for the pain you can experience in the side of your neck and the side of your skull. I hope you found a lot of value in this article and it will really help you with getting rid of your neck pain and your headaches.