Frontalis Muscle Pain Pattern

The Frontalis Muscle

The occipitofrontalis is a muscle that covers much of the skull and is often referred to as the scalp muscle. The muscle has two bellies (parts) the frontalis and the occipitalis which are connected by the epicranial aponeurosis a large swath of connective tissue.
The frontalis is the part of the muscle that covers the forehead. Trigger points in the muscle can cause an aching pain across the forehead and can contribute to eyestrain.
Contents of Article



    Where is the frontalis muscle located?

    The frontalis is a facial muscle found in the forehead. It attaches to the epicranial aponeurosis and connects to the skin over the eyebrow and the orbicularis oculi muscle.

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Wrinkles the skin of the forehead
    • Elevates the eyebrows

    For detailed anatomy information: Frontalis Muscle Anatomy

    What pain and symptoms are associated with the frontalis muscle?

    The frontalis covers the forehead and trigger points in the muscle cause that aching pain that runs across the forehead. Frontalis trigger points do not refer pain, the pain remains localized.
    Trigger points in the muscle as well as stress can contribute to eyestrain. If you are experiencing pain behind the eye then you should check the occipitalis or the trapezius muscles.

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    What Causes Trigger Points In the Frontalis?

    Eye strain is one of the biggest reasons that trigger points develop in the frontalis muscle. The constant squinting or opening the eyes wide to try to focus the eyes put a tremendous workload on the muscle.
    If you have a habit raising the eyebrows or squinting the eyes this too will stress the frontalis. Try to limit these habits.

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    Frontalis Trigger Point Treatment

    Frontalis trigger points are easily treated. Place your fingertips at the top of the eyebrows using medium pressure rub up into the hairline. If you feel a small knot or tight band of muscle, stop and apply pressure for 10 seconds, then continue massaging upward. Do not apply pressure for more than 10 seconds as this can do more harm than good. Instead, do several treatments throughout the day until the knot can no longer be felt and the pain and tenderness around the area are gone.

    The best resource to learn how to treat small painful knots is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The authors explain trigger points and their effects in everyday language, not medical speak. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to treat their own muscle pain.

    Interesting Facts About The Frontalis

    • Exaggerated facial expressions such as frowning, opening the eyes wide, and raising the eyebrows frequently can stress the muscle.
    • Contributes to the deep wrinkles across the forehead.

    Clinical diagnoses to which the frontalis muscle symptoms may contribute:

    • Tension headaches
    • Migraine headaches
    • Persistent eye strain
    • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the frontalis:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the frontalis muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the muscle you will want to check this muscle for additional trigger points.
    • Sternocleidomastoid (clavicular head)