Suboccipital Tension Headaches Neck Pain Graston Sioux City
Suboccipital headaches are a very common form of headaches that can be treated in the chiropractic office. The suboccipital muscles are small muscles at the base of the skull. They help us to tip our head up towards the ceiling. They are also very active when we slouch forward at the computer and lift our head to see the monitor.
Anybody who slouches has a tendency to overwork these muscles. When the suboccipital muscles go into spasm, they produce tension and tightness at the base of the skull. People often describe relief and a decrease in pressure when they rub these muscles with their thumbs. If the muscles continue to contract and irritate the head, they can set off a series of events that leads to headaches.
Suboccipital headaches are very similar to tension headaches. The pain usually starts at the base of the skull and can move towards the eye. Some people feel pain just at the base and around their eye. Other people describe pain beginning at the base of the skull and wrapping over the top of the head towards the eye. As well, suboccipital headaches can be very similar to tension headaches, feeling like the tension wraps around the head like a headband.
These headaches are improved with treatments that decrease pain and muscle spasms in the back and neck muscles. Suboccipital headaches tend to respond well to ice and heat therapy. Massage therapy is another excellent treatment for decreasing muscle spasms and tenderness. When active trigger points are found in the suboccipital muscles, the pain radiates from the base of the skull towards the eye. The radiating pain is very similar to the pain felt with full headache symptoms.
Because these muscles are often overworked for many years, they can also develop scar tissue. Scar tissue and myofascial adhesions develop on any muscle that is chronically overworked. Tension and migraine headache sufferers respond very well to Graston Technique treatments in the neck and upper back pain. Likewise, suboccipital headache sufferers often have myofascial adhesions in the same locations in the suboccipital muscles, cervical paraspinal muscles, trapezius muscles, rhomboid, levator, and upper thoracic paraspinal muscles.
Graston Technique utilizes a specially-designed stainless steel special instrument to slide along the muscles and break up the scar tissue between muscle fibers. This treatment is enhanced with exercises and stretches to increase flexibility and strength. Posture recommendations are given to decrease excessive stress and strain placed along the suboccipital and neck muscles with slouching.
We often see people have a decreased intensity, frequency, and duration of headache symptoms within a couple weeks. They describe their headaches as being less intense overall and less frequent throughout the entire week. If they are having daily headaches, the headaches start later in the afternoon or evening. In addition, the headaches begin to subside very quickly after work with a little rest, ice, and stretching.
Overall, we have great success in treating suboccipital headache sufferers with Graston Technique, massage therapy, stretching, light exercise, and regular icing. These treatments can be used as individual treatments to address migraine, tension, and suboccipital headaches, but when they are combined together in a comprehensive treatment plan, they provide significant headache relief in less time.