Treating Trigger Point Headaches

Last week, we looked at the role the sub-occipital muscles played in tension headaches, specifically in migraine presentations. For many, differentiating between true migraines and tension migraines can be difficult. While muscles can refer pain similar to a migraine, true migraines can be caused by a plethora of different causes:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Circulatory changes and restrictions in cerebral blood flow
  • Food irritant and allergic responses
  • Severe stress

For many, the idea that muscles can be involved in a migraine type headaches is unknown to them. If you are experiencing these headaches and you have not tried pursuing muscular relief, here are some things that may work for you:

a frozen bottle of water under beneath the neck can help relieve sub-occipital trigger headaches

Take a 20-ounce bottle of water and place it in the freezer. Lay the base of your skull along the width of the bottle and let gravity compress the area for 45 second. Take a break for 2 minutes and repeat again up to 5 times.

place fingers into point of pain and turn head in opposite direction

rotate head back and forth with fingers in compression point

Using your own fingertips, curl your fingertips onto the base of your skull and rotate the head face up to create compression with your fingertips. You can simply hold here or go back and forth against the tension with your fingertips to release the tension.

place a towel under the trigger point, hold each end and pull up, while pushing neck down against the towel

using the same towel, move hands above head to create stretch in the neck

Using a towel or shirt, grab the base of the skull and lift it away from the spine, decompressing the joints of the neck. For chronic headache clients, the neck joints are often loaded with tension and require some time to unload.

If none of the options work, start with your primary physician to seek more answers to why you are experiencing these chronic headaches. Other options we recommend include:

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