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Muscles causing headaches – Suboccipital Muscles

Muscles causing headaches - Suboccipital Muscles

Suboccipital muscles causing headaches

In the last part of our series of Muscles causing headaches. We looking at the group of muscles named the Suboccipital muscles. To begin with, there are 4 muscles in total in this group and all 4 will be discussed in detail. They can cause a nasty headache but they are treatable. 

Anatomy – Suboccipital muscles:

There are 4 muscles in this group:

    1) Rectus capitis posterior major:
    •             Origin – Spine of C2
    •             Insertion – Lateral portion of inferior nuchal line
    •             Action – Extension, rotation and lateral flexion of head
    •             Nerve supply – Suboccipital nerve
    2) Rectus capitis posterior minor – might be absent 
    •             Origin – Posterior tubercle of C1
    •             Insertion – medial portion of inferior nuchal line
    •             Action – Extension and lateral flexion of head
    •             Nerve supply – Suboccipital nerve
      3) Obliquus capitis superior
    •             Origin – Transverse process of C1
    •             Insertion – Below inferior nuchal line
    •             Action – Extension, rotation and lateral flexion of head
    •             Nerve supply – Suboccipital nerve
    4) Obliquus capitis inferior
    •             Origin – Spine of C2
    •             Insertion – Transverse process of C1
    •             Action – Extension and rotation of head
    •             Nerve supply – Suboccipital nerve

These 4 muscles are mainly there to support the head in posture.

Common Injuries:

These muscles are most commonly injured during whiplash and poor posture or stress.

Pain pattern:

Muscles causing headaches - Suboccipital Muscles pain pattern

As you can see these muscles refer from the back or base of skull all the way to the eye and the forehead area. Usually, these muscles are normally involved alongside Trapezius, Sternocleidomastoid and Splenius muscles.

How a chiropractor can treat this muscle:

Typically a Chiropractor will do an array of soft tissue work (muscle work) that includes, massage, myofascial dry needling (wrongly referred as Acupuncture), kinesio taping (RockTape), Ultrasound and even Fascia “release”.

A Chiropractic adjustment will be delivered to the affected neck vertebrae to “reset” the body system and try to get homeostasis.

Home treatment includes:

Stretching 

Ice or Heat therapy – Click here for a blog on Ice therapy, but heat therapy can work just as well

If you suffer from headaches, contact us or make an appointment to see your chiropractor.

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