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Occipitalis Muscle: Headaches, Head, Eye, Teeth Pain

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The occipital muscle can contribute to headaches, migraines, eye and teeth pain as well as TMJ.

Occipitalis Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain in the back of the head and toward the top of the head. Pain is described as deep down in the head
  • Pain around the eye
  • Teeth pain
  • Tight scalp

NOTE: Pain in the back and top of the head with shooting pain or aching in eye are also signs of aneurysm or cerebral hemorrhage. If you are experiencing these signs it is important to see your doctor!

Where is the occipitalis muscle?

The occipitalis is located at the back head, above the base of the scalp.

What movements does the occipitalis muscle control?

  • Pulls the scalp back
  • Assists with raising the eyebrows

Activities that cause occipitalis pain and symptoms:

  • Keeping the eyebrows raised
  • Tension
Occipitalis Muscle Origin, Insertion, Action, Innvervation

The occipital muscle pulls the scalp back and helps to raise the eyebrows.

Interesting facts about the occipitalis:

  • For those who have this talent, the occipitalis is the muscle that wiggles the ears.
  • The occipitalis is connected directly to the frontalis (forehead muscle) via the galea aponeurotica, a tendinous sheet that covers the skull.

Occipitalis Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To, Contribute To and Be Affected By These Medical Diagnosis:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • C2 radiculopathy
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Eye strain

TWD Suggests: Feel Like Your Scalp Is Too Tight For Your Skull?

The occipitalis and/or the frontalis muscle can make you scalp feel tight and overly stretched. The occipitalis is also the cause of many headaches. The Huggaroo Head Wrap can help relieve both of these symptoms. The wrap can be positioned to cover both muscles to ease tension. It can be warmed to enhance relaxation or chilled to ease headaches.

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

Satellite trigger points associated with the occipitalis muscle:

  • Frontalis
  • Temporalis
  • Posterior Cervical Muscles

For detailed anatomy information:  Occipitalis Anatomy

TWD Recommenations for Occipital Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Tension Headaches

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. Biofreeze is better than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer.  Rub the gel into the neck going up to the base of the skull to treat occipital pain.

Hot Cold Cervical Roll For Headaches and Neck Pain

Elasto-Gel Cervical Roll can be heated, chilled or used simply for support and pressure for the neck. The roll can help with occipital muscle pain and headaches. For best results, position the roll at the base of the skull.

Warm Therapy Gel for Occipitalis Muscle Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides therapeutic warmth without burning heat.  It can help reduce tightness and pain around the base of the skull where occipital pain originates. Apply Sombra to the neck and along the base of the skull to help relax the muscles and ease neck and headache pain.

Self-Treatment Techniques For Occipital Muscle Headaches and Neck Pain

I use and often 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

Self Treatment For Headaches, Head, Eye and Teeth Pain Caused By The Occipitalis Muscle

When I recommend trigger point tools to my clients I always recommend that they also purchase Claire Davies  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.  If you suffer from unresolved headaches and migraines 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.


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