Triggered Suboccipital Muscles: A Common Source Of Tension Headaches

18 March 2016
 Categories: , Articles


One of the most common causes of tension headaches involves trigger points in the suboccipital muscle group in the back of your head. If you experience headaches often and cannot find relief from them, and if they are located in the back of your head or neck, the pain might be caused by this muscle group. Chiropractic care and other natural treatment options may help you find relief from these types of headaches. Here are several things you should understand about headaches that stem from the suboccipital muscles.

What Is The Suboccipital Muscle Group?

The suboccipital muscle group is a group of four paired muscles located on the back side of your head. Their main purpose is to hold up your head, which can be a difficult task. The average adult head weighs between 10 to 11 pounds. The other main role of these muscles is to help you turn and tilt your head.

This group of muscles is capable of holding up an average human head; however, there are times when these muscles become inflamed and full of tension. When this happens, it is very likely that you will experience tension headaches.

Headaches caused by problems with the suboccipital muscles can affect your entire head, and it can often times be hard to pinpoint exactly where the location is of the headache. In addition, this type of headache can also cause pain in the jaw, eyes, and face, and it is very likely to cause neck pain too. If you experience headaches like this and cannot even find relief when taking over-the-counter pain killers, you may be suffering from suboccipital muscle tension headaches.

Why Do These Muscles Cause Headaches?

When these muscles are working properly and are not being pulled and used in the wrong ways, you should not have headaches that are caused by this group of muscles. Unfortunately, things you do during each day can cause you to use the muscles in ways that are wrong, and you will not even realize you are doing this.

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of this. If you hold your head too far forward or lead your shoulders inwards too far, you might be triggering problems. As this happens, your suboccipital muscles become overwhelmed as they try to hold your head up. When your head or shoulders are too far forward, it puts more pressure on these muscles, and they can become strained if this occurs frequently.  

In addition, there are other things you might be doing that are placing too much stress on these muscles. For example, if you place your phone on your shoulder while talking, you are bending your neck in a way that will add stress to these muscles. People who work on computers all day long may also have these types of headaches from the way they hold their head and shoulders as they sit. Stress is another major cause of headache pain triggered by the suboccipital muscles.

How Can You Find Relief?

If you are tired of living with these headaches, there are several things you can do to get rid of them. The first thing involves developing better posture. When you stand or sit, try to hold your back straight and avoid leaning your head forward. If you work at a computer, try to focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed while you work.

A second thing to consider is visiting a chiropractic clinic. Through adjustments and massage therapy, you can often find relief from the pressure on these muscles. Your chiropractor might also suggest using heat or ice to relieve the pain you feel. The goal of relieving headaches caused by these muscles is to take the extra stress off of them. As you do this, the muscles will slowly begin to loosen up and the trigger points will slowly begin to fade. Once this happens, you will find the relief you have been looking for.

If you suffer from chronic tension headaches and want to find relief, a good place to start is at a chiropractic clinic. To learn more, contact a chiropractor and set up an appointment today. For more information, contact a company like Rockwood Chiropractic