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Home > Conditions  > Headaches/Migraines


  The trapezius is the large, diamond shaped muscle group that forms the base of the neck and upper back region. It has attachment points at the base of the skull, along the spine, on the shoulder blade, and on the collar bone. When this muscle contracts it typically moves the shoulder blade, but it also plays a part in moving the neck and head.
      Trigger points in this muscle refer pain to the back and side of the neck, to the temple region, behind the ear or back of the head, to the shoulder joint, and in the upper back region. Trigger points in this muscle develop for a number of reasons, including poor posture, emotional stress, whiplash injuries, falls, and sleeping wrong.   
  The sternocleidmastoid is a muscle group that is found on each side of the neck. This muscle group has two divisions or parts, the sternal division and the clavicular division. Both divisions contract to flex the head forward or to the side, as well as to help rotate the head to each side.
      The sternal division attaches at the base of the skull behind the ear, and runs downward wrapping around the neck and attaching to the breast bone. Trigger points in this part of the SCM muscle refer pain to the top of the head, temple, above and around the eye socket, and to the back of the head. Additionally, these trigger points may produce other symptoms such as sore throat, dry cough, and eye redness and tearing.
      The clavicular division also attaches behind the ear, but wraps downward around the neck to attach to the collar bone instead of the breast bone. Trigger points in this division refer pain to the forehead, to the ear (and behind it), and sometimes to the molar teeth. These trigger points may also be responsible for bouts of dizziness or vertigo, as the SCM muscle is involved with orientating the head in space, which provides feedback for the sensory information derived from the "balance receptors" in the inner ear.
       Unlike Trapezius trigger points, SCM trigger points do not refer pain or stiffness to the neck. The pain from SCM trigger points is almost always severe, and is typically misdiagnosed as migraine or cluster headaches.

"A year ago I was doing the same job I had done for ten years. My personal life was stressful, my job had become more stresful, and I hadn't realized how repetitive it really was, with driving 30 to 40 thousand miles a year and always being on the computer. I was in denial about the headache I was getting. I was so busy that I just kept taking ibuprofen. I don't know how long that went on before I'd had enough.  Jessa was reccomended to me, and I am so thankful that she was. I could tell right away that she had a passion for her work. "   - Adam Haur, Grass Valley

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