A myofascial trigger point (TP) is a hyper-irritable area in skeletal muscle that is commonly detected by palpating (feeling with the fingers). For patients with migraine and tension-type headaches, trigger points are commonly found at the base of the skull or upper neck, paraspinal neck muscles, the upper trapezius, and or the levator scapulae musculature.

Studies have proven and support the evaluation and treatment of trigger points in the upper neck region in those with tension-type headaches and migraine headaches. Doctors of chiropractic commonly perform manual techniques to the upper neck region and train their headache patients in identifying and self-managing trigger points located in the upper neck muscles.

Several methods can be used to self-treat trigger points in the upper neck region. Perhaps the easiest approach is to reach back with your thumb to the muscle attachments along the base of the skull and apply deep (but tolerated) pressure, feeling for areas that are most sensitive and sliding the thumb up and down and across the sore trigger point until it becomes less tender. Work the left side with the left thumb and vice versa. Doing the same with small head movements, up and down, left and right rotations, etc. helps.

Another method is to sit in a straight-back chair, slide down so that you cradle your upper neck over the top edge of the chair back and then roll your head left to right. When you find a sore trigger point, add a nodding type of head motion while “digging in” over the chair-back edge (with tolerance) until it loosens or hurts less.

If you suffer from headaches, your doctor of chiropractic can train you in these and other effective exercises and render treatment to improve cervical function that can be highly effective at reducing both the frequency and intensity of headaches. 


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Dr. Augustine of Augustine Chiropractic in Wesley Chapel, FL, has over 31 years of experience treating patients for their neck pain and their ailments through personalized chiropractic care treatments. The locally owned and operated chiropractic clinic offers both in-office treatments and at-home therapy regiments to help people recover and heal from auto injuries and other conditions. The staff is dedicated to providing alternative and therapeutic solutions for better overall health. Give them a call today at (813) 994-6008 to schedule and appointment and visit their website to learn more about their services!