Headache on Top of Head — A Skullcap of Pain

Headache on Top of Head

Vertex pain is a headache on top of head. This is fairly unique headache as there are only two muscles that refer pain to the top of the head. Although headaches in this area can be caused by other problems, the most common, and fortunately most treatable reason, is trigger points in certain neck and upper back muscles. (Click here to learn more about trigger points.) It is worth a shot to check these muscles and treat what you find to see if it will help you with your headache on top of the head.

The following chart is a quick reminder for easy treatment of trigger points. For more complete info, check out the self massage page, or try the other method: Deep Stroking Massage.

Self Massage: Trigger Point Pressure Release
  1. Lengthen muscle to the point of resistance (optional)
  2. Gradually apply pressure to the trigger point until you feel a resistance (discomfort) in the muscle
  3. Hold pressure until the resistance/discomfort fades (5-60 seconds)
  4. Increase pressure again to the resistance (discomfort)
  5. Repeat process 3-4 times per trigger point
  6. Repeat on all trigger points in the muscle
  7. Work each trigger point 3-6 times per day

Muscles that Create Headache on Top of Head

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) — This is a very interesting muscle that can create a whole spectrum of problems, from dizziness and nausea, to ear ringing and head pain. The muscle has two branches - the sternal branch that runs from the skull behind the ear to the breast bone, and the clavicular branch that runs from the same place behind the ear underneath the sternal division to the collar bone. Only the sternal division sends pain to the top of the head. The trigger points are located along the whole length of the muscle. Make sure that you are persistent in treating this muscle, even though it probably hurts like crazy. For more complete info on this muscle click here.

Semispinalus capitus — This is a V-shaped muscle that starts along the cervical spine and connects to the back of the skull. The trigger points are located in the muscles right below the base of the skull on either side. This muscle doesn't like it when you bend your head forward for long periods of time (such as studying, reading, and writing). A tool like an Easy Reader that props your book up can reduce the strain on this muscle. Click here for a picture.

Check out the Headache page, to find out more about what type of headache you have and get more tips on reducing or eliminating this headache on top of head.

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Find out which muscles are causing you pain!

Trigger Point Chart


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