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Splenius Capitis Muscle: Pain At The Top Of The Head

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Pain at the top of the head can be an indication of splenius muscle dysfunction.

Splenius Capitis Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain at the crown of the head
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Occasionally neck pain

Where is the splenius capitis muscle?

The splenius capitis muscle connects the neck vertebrae and upper back vertebrae (C7-T4) to the side of the skull behind the ear. (mastoid process).

What movements do the splenius capitis muscle control?

  • Bends the head toward the shoulder
  • Turns the head
  • Straightens the head and neck

Activities that cause splenius capitis muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Holding your head bent down for prolong periods (texting)
  • Sleeping with inadequate head support
  • Forward head posture – forward head posture is when the head juts forward in relation to the neck.

TWD Recommends: Do You Have Headaches At The Crown Of Your Head?

Sleeping on a pillow that does not provide proper neck support will cause headaches as well as neck and shoulder pain. If you sleep on your stomach the splenius muscles are affected. The Sweetnight Adjustable Fill Pillow allows you to adjust the pillow filling to the proper height for better alignment of the head, neck and spine. This pillow works great for all sleeping positions!

Splenius Capitis Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the splenius capitis muscle to turn your head, bend the head toward the shoulder, and straighten the head and neck.

Interesting facts about the splenius capitis muscle:

  • The splenius capitis muscles are a major contributor to tension headaches.
  • The splenius muscles should also be examined and treated in all whiplash injuries.

Splenius Capitis Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To, Contribute To and Be Affected ByThese Medical Diagnosis:

  • C1 radiculopathy
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Whiplash
  • Migraine headaches
  • Occipitoatlantal dysfunction
  • Military neck
  • Eye Strain
  • Cervical Spine Hyperlordosis
  • Post Concussion Syndrome
  • Vertebral vascular disorder

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

Satellite trigger points associated with the splenius capitis:

  • Levator scapulae
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Splenius cervicis
  • Upper trapezius

For detailed anatomy information:  Splenius Capitis Anatomy

TWD Recommendations For Splenius Capitis Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Recent Neck Injury

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. It 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. Biofreeze is recommended for those who have had a recent neck injury or sudden onset pain. Rub Biofreeze into the top of the shoulders, into the neck going up to the base of the skull. Highly recommended for early treatment of whiplash and sudden onset pain from the splenius muscles.

Hot Cold Wrap for Neck and Upper Back

Elasto-Gel Cervical Collar can be used for heat or cold therapy to the neck and upper shoulder area. This is a great wrap to use with the splenius muscles as it covers both muscles. Use cold therapy for new and recent injury or sudden onset pain. Use heat therapy for injuries over a week old and chronic pain from old injury and tight muscles. I recommend this because it conforms to the contours of your body and is well made so it will last for years.

Warm Therapy Gels can help relieve neck and headache pain due to the splenius capitis muscle

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides therapeutic warmth without burning heat.  Apply Sombra to the top of the shoulder,  up the neck and along the base of the skull to help relax the muscles and ease the pain of splenius capitis muscles.

Therapy Tools Provide Pressure To Help Relax Neck and Head Muscles

I use and often recommend the Neck King Massage Tool For Neck and Back to my clients who suffer with 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 help me as well as many of my clients relieve headaches, sore stiff necks and upper back strain.

Self Help For Treating Headache Pain Caused by the Splenius Capitis 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. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. If you suffer with 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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