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Frontalis Muscle: Forehead, Sinus Pain, Headaches

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, 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?

    Frontalis Muscle Anatomy

    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

    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.
    • The frontalis can cause eye strain, but does not contribute to aching or pain in or around the area of the eyes.

    For detailed anatomy information: Frontalis Muscle Anatomy


    What pain and symptoms are associated with the frontalis muscle?

    Frontalis Muscle Pain Pattern
    The frontalis covers the forehead, and trigger points in the muscle cause aching pain 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, you should check the occipitalis or the trapezius muscles.

    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 focus the eyes puts a tremendous workload on the muscle.
    If you have a habit raising your eyebrows or squinting your eyes, this will stress the frontalis. Try to limit these habits.

    A list of additional muscles that may also contribute to these  symptoms:


    Frontalis Anatomy Showing Trigger Point Locations

    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.

    Cooling Hat For Headache, Sinus Pain and Eye Strain Relief

    If you suffer from headaches, sinus pain, TMJ, or chronic jaw pain, the Headache Hat will help relieve your pain. The hat has two layers of cooling compartments that encircle the head, providing the recommended cold therapy and compression. It can be pulled down over the face to treat sinus and jaw pain.

    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.

    Clinical diagnoses to which the frontalis muscle symptoms may contribute:

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

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    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)