Longissimus Capitis Referred Pain Pattern

The Longissimus Capitis Muscle

The longissimus capitis is a muscle found deep in the neck. A classic sign of trigger points in the muscle is pain in and around the ear that sometimes extends up toward the eye. It can also cause the scalp and neck to become hypersensitive with numbness and tingling in the scalp.


Longissimus Capitis Muscle

Where is the longissimus capitis muscle?

The longissimus capitis is a muscle found deep in the neck and upper back. It connects the upper back vertebrae (T1-T5) and neck vertebre (C4-C7) to the bottom of the skull (mastoid process).

What movements does it control?

  • Straightens (extends) the neck and head
  • Turns (rotates) neck and head
For detailed muscle anatomy visit Longissimus Capitis Anatomy

Longissimus Capitis Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

  • Pain behind and/or just beneath the ear
  • Pain around the eye
  • Pain sometimes is felt slightly down the neck
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness in the back of the head and neck
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the scalp

TWD Recommends

The Huggaroo Neck Wrap is a large wrap that will treat neck, upper shoulder, and upper back muscle pain. It can be used cold for injury and swelling or warmed for deep penetrating heat. Works well to treat the neck and upper back muscles and reduce the muscle pain and symptoms.

Activities that cause longissimus capitis muscle pain:

  • Blow to the back of the head
  • Whiplash
  • Wearing a cervical collar
  • Holding shoulders up
  • Stress

Longissimus Capitis Trigger Point Treatment

The longissimus capitis muscle can be self-treated. TWD highly recommends The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The workbook will guide you through examining all the muscles that may be contributing to your discomfort. It is an excellent resource to learn how to find and treat trigger points not only in the neck but throughout the body.

Many people are hesitant to self-treat the neck. Find a massage therapist, chiropractor, or physical therapist who are trained in TrP therapy to help you. They will show you how to find and treat specific trigger points.

Trigger points respond best to several 1-2 minute treatments throughout the day.


Neck Strain Injuries

If you have a neck muscle strain injury, it is recommended that you use cold therapy during the 24-72 hours after the injury occurs. Once the swelling and inflammation have reduced you should alternate cold and warm treatments.

TWD Recommends

The Craniocradle  was developed to treat headaches and stiff necks. The cradle applies pressure to the muscles while providing gentle traction to the neck. Use for 5-10 minutes and feel a reduction in pain and stress. The cradle can also be used for treatment on other areas including the low back and hip area. Instructions are provided.

Sombra Warm Therapy warms and relaxes muscles without the burning heat of other heating creams/gels. Apply Sombra to the neck and upper back before using the CranioCradle to relax the muscles, which will improve the effectiveness of the cradle.

TWD Recommends: Neck Muscle Injuries

Note: If you have suffered a whiplash injury or strained a neck muscle, it is recommended that you use cold therapy during the acute phase of the injury. Cold therapy is also recommended for migraine headaches.

For muscle injuries and migraines, use Biofreeze Cooling Gel. Biofreeze works like ice in that it cools the area, and may help reduce inflammation. Rub the gel into the neck, shoulders and upper back for pain relief. It is used and recommended by therapists and doctors for musculoskeletal injuries and pain.

The Elasto-Gel Cervical Roll is a hot/cold pack that is recommended for whiplash injuries and neck pain. Chill the roll and place it under the neck for 20 minutes. Apply Biofreeze after using the chilled roll to prolong the treatment.

Interesting facts about the longissimus capitis muscle

  • It part of the erector spinae muscle group

Clinical diagnoses to which the longissimus capitis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Prolapsed disc
  • C2 C3 radiculopathy
  • Intervertebral or Vertebral stenosis
  • Vertebral vascular disorder
  • Cervical spine hyperlordosis
  • Military neck
  • Thoracic spine hyperkyphosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spasmodic Torticollis
  • Wryneck Syndrome
  • Sinusitis
  • Eye Strain
  • Ocular disease
  • Mastoiditis


Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

If you find trigger points in the longissimus capitis you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

  • Trapezius
  • Infraspinatus
  • Digastric



TWD Recommends

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.