Orbicularis Oculi Referred Pain Pattern

The Orbicularis Oculi Muscle Pain

The orbicularis oculi is the muscle that surrounds the eye.

Trigger points in the muscle cause pain above the eye and down the side of the nose. You may also experience eye twitching.

Contents of Article


    Orbicularis Oculi Muscle

    Where is the orbicularis oculi muscle?

    The muscle consists of 3 parts: the orbital part, palpebral part, and the frontal process. The muscle connects into the tissues of the eyelid.

    What movements does the orbicularis oculi control?

    • Closes the eye
    • Blinking
    • Squinting
    For additional occipitalis anatomy information visit the Orbicularis Oculi Anatomy Page

    What pain and symptoms are associated with the orbicularis oculi muscle?

    Pain in the eye and nose area

    Trigger point pain in the orbicularis oculi muscle starts above the eye descending down the side of the nose, into the cheek and sometimes into the upper lip.

    Twitching eye and drooping eyelid

    Trigger points can also cause an annoying twitching of the eye and can also contribute to a drooping upper eyelid.

    Problems Reading

    If the print on a page seems to jump and move while you are reading it may be due to trigger points in the muscle.

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    What Causes Trigger Points In the Occipitalis?

    Poor Eyesight and Eye Strain

    If you strain to focus due to poor eyesight it is likely you will develop trigger points in the muscles. Working at computers and looking at phones, tablets, and T.V. screens are also notorious for causing eye strain.  Reading without adequate light is also hard on the eyes.

    Overly Bright Lights

    Sunlight and other bright lights that make you squint can lead to trigger points in the muscle. If you are out in bright sunlight it is important to wear sunglasses not only to protect your eyes but also to reduce strain on the orbicularis oculi muscle.

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    Orbicularis Oculi Muscle Trigger Point Treatment

    The orbicularis oculi muscle is easily self-treated. Use your fingertips to gently massage around the eyes. If you find an area that is especially tender apply gentle pressure for up to 10 seconds. Applying pressure for longer can irritate the muscle and cause more pain and sensitivity.

    The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) often plays a role in vision and eye problems and can affect the orbicularis oculi muscle. If you are experiencing vision or eye issues you will also need to check the SCM. The Trigger Point Workbook is a highly recommended book that will help you locate and treat TrPs not only in the above muscles but throughout the body. It is a must-have book for anyone who wants to learn about muscle pain and treatment.

    Interesting facts about the orbicularis oculi:

    • Eyestrain and poor eyesight can wreak havoc on this muscle. If this muscle suffers from constant shortening it will make the print on a page jump around or appear wavy.
    • The orbicularis oculi are the muscles that cause crow's feet.

    Clinical diagnoses to which the orbicularis oculi muscle symptoms may contribute:

    • Eyestrain
    • Tension headaches
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis
    • Sinus headache
    • Sinusitis
    • Guillain-Barré Syndrome


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

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the orbicularis oculi muscle you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

    • Frontalis
    • Temporalis
    • Posterior Cervical Muscles