Follow and Like Us:

Semispinalis Capitis Muscle: Neck and Head Pain

Splenius Capitis Muscle Pain Pattern

A band of pain encircling the top of the head, pain in the temple area going into the eye and pain in the back of the head are symptoms of semispinalis capitis muscle dysfunction.

  • Pain in the back of the upper neck extending up into the back of the head
  • Band of pain going around the top head
  • Pain in the temple region going down to the eye
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness in the back of the head and neck
  • Numbness in the scalp

Where is the semispinalis capitis muscle?

The semispinalis capitis is a muscle found deep in the neck. It connects the lower neck (cervical) vertebrae (C4, C5, C6, C7)  and the upper back (thoracic) vertebrae (T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6) to the bottom of the skull (occipital bone).

What movements does the semispinalis capitis muscle control?

  • Straightens (extends) the neck and head
  • Turns (rotates) the head side to side
  • Bends (lateral flexion) the neck to the side (ear to shoulder motion)

Activities that cause semispinalis capitis pain and symptoms:

  • Blow to the back of the head
  • Whiplash
  • Cervical collar
  • Holding shoulders up due to stress
  • Stress
Semispinalis Capitis Muscle

The semispinalis muscle straightens your neck and head, bends the neck side to side, (ear to shoulder) and helps turn the head.

Clinical diagnoses to which the semispinalis capitis symptoms may contribute:

  • Tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Intervertebral or Vertebral stenosis
  • Cervical Spine Hyperlordosis
  • Thoracic Spine Hyperkyphosis
  • Occipitoatlantal articular dysfunction
  • Military neck
  • Vertebral vascular disorder
  • Scoliosis
  • Spasmodic Torticollis (Wryneck Syndrome)
  • Slipped Rib
  • Eye Strain
  • Ocular disease
  • Sinus Pain

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the semispinalis capitis muscle:

Satellite trigger points: Trapezius, Digastric and Infraspinatus

For anatomy information please see: Semispinalis Capitis Back Muscle: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Semispinalis Capitis Muscle Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I use it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. Biofreeze  is recommended for those who have had a recent neck and upper back injury or sudden onset pain. Rub Biofreeze into the upper back and shoulders, into the neck going up to the base of the skull. Highly recommended for early treatment of whiplash.
Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury
Recommended Cold and Heat Wrap for Neck and Shoulders

Elasto-Gel Cervical Collar can be used for heat or cold therapy to the neck, upper shoulder area. This is a great wrap to use with the semispinalis capitis as it covers the muscle. Use cold therapy for new and recent injury or sudden onset pain. Use heat therapy for injuries over a week old and chronic pain from old injuries and tight muscles. I recommend this because it conforms to the contours of your body and is well made to last for years.

Hot Cold Cervical Roll For Headaches and Neck Pain

Elasto-Gel Cervical Roll will help with semispinalis capitis muscle pain by providing support and pressure to the muscle. The roll can be used chilled for headaches and injuries or can be heated for muscle relaxation. For best results, postion the roll at the base of the skull.

Massage Therapy Tools Provide Pressure To Help Relax Neck and Head Muscles

I use and recommend the Neck King Massage Tool For Neck and Back to my clients who suffer from headaches, migraines and stiff necks. The Neck King works on trigger points and pressure points to help relieve muscle tension and pain. The secret to using the Neck King is to follow the directions carefully and to slowly build up the time spent using the tool. For many first time users, the tool is too hard to use comfortably. Folding a hand towel and laying it over the Neck King will help ease the discomfort.  This tool has helped me as well as many of my clients relieve headaches, sore stiff necks and upper back strain.


Warm Therapy Gels can help relieve neck and headache pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat and is great for relieving pain. It can help reduce tightness and pain in the upper back,  back of the neck  and the base of the skull often caused by the semispinalis muscles. Applying Sombra to the upper back, around the shoulder blades, up the neck, and along the base of the skull can help relax the muscles and ease the head pain.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Self Treatment For The Semispinalis Capitis Head and Neck Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the semispinalis capitis muscle can cause pain in the head, neck and numbness in the scalp?

When I recommend trigger point tools like the Neck King (see above) to my clients I always recommend that they also purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief.  Mr. Davies explain the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. If you suffer from unresolved headaches, migraines or have had a whiplash injury, I highly recommend this book. Relieving trigger points in various head and neck muscles have helped many people resolve head and neck pain issues. This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Leave a Comment