The Suboccipital Muscles
The suboccipital muscles are four small muscles located at the bottom of the skull. Though these muscles are small, they can cause and contribute to headaches, eye pain, and contribute to migraine headaches.
Where are the suboccipital muscles?
- Obliquus capitis inferior
- Obliquus capitis superior
- Rectus capitis posterior major
- Rectus capitis posterior minor
What Movements Does It Control?
- Turns the head to the side
- Tilts the head to the side (ear to shoulder)
What pain and symptoms are associated with the suboccipital muscles?
Suboccipital muscle tightness and pain responds well to hot and cold treatments. The Huggaroo Neck Wrap treats the neck, top of the shoulder, and upper back. Use cold for migraines and whiplash injuries. Use heat for tension headaches and relaxation.
What causes trigger points in the suboccipital muscles?
Do You Have Headaches That Radiate From Deep In The Head? A Stiff Neck But No Pain?
These symptoms point to the suboccipital muscles.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.
Suboccipital Muscles Trigger Point Treatment
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. Biofreeze is recommended for those who have had a recent neck injury or sudden onset pain. Rub Biofreeze into the upper back, shoulders, and into back of the neck going up to the base of the skull and over behind the ears. Highly recommended for early treatment of whiplash.
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 warmth without burning heat. It can help reduce tightness and pain in the back of the neck and the base of the skull often caused by the suboccipital muscles. Applying Sombra to the back of the neck, up behind the ears and along the base of the skull will help relax the muscles and provide pain relief.
Does your pillow support your head and neck?
Sleeping without proper head and neck support is sure to aggravate neck and shoulder muscles. The Sweetnight Pillow has adjustable filling and is highly recommended for its neck support.
Interesting facts about the suboccipital muscles
- The obliquus capitis inferior, obliquus capitis superior and the rectus capitis posterior major are the muscles that make the borders of the suboccipital triangle.
- It is often said that suboccipital pain feels like it is deep inside the head. The pain is referred to as ‘ghost pain’ because the pain is hard to pin to a specific location and is hard to define.
Clinical diagnoses to which the suboccipital muscles symptoms may contribute:
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
- Eye Strain
- Food Allergies
- Post Concussion Syndrome
Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the suboccipital muscles:
- Longus Colli
- Longus Capitis
Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:
- Levator Scapulae
- Longus Colli
- Longus Capitis
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. It works extremely well on the muscles at the base of the skull. This tool has helped me as well as many of my clients relieve headaches, sore stiff necks, and upper back strain.