The suboccipital muscles are often the cause of ‘ghost headaches’ as referred pain from these muscles often cause a deep radiating pain. Almost 80% of headaches are caused by referred pain from these muscles being tensed and tight. The suboccipital muscles are a group of four muscles located on each side of the back of the neck just below the base of the skull. The muscles connect the skull with the top two vertebrae of the neck. These muscles at the base of you skull are responsible for tilting and turning the head to either side. 

Common causes of suboccipital headaches:

  • Excessive eye strain
  • Shortening muscles of the neck while looking upward (lying on the floor with head propped up watching tv)
  • Excessive forward head posture
  • Wearing new glasses
  • Poor ergonomics (at daily workstations)
  • Grinding of teeth
  • Incorrect posture
  • Trauma injuries such as whiplash
  • Emotional stressors
  • Cold draft or air conditioner on back of neck

Symptoms of suboccipital muscle tightness:

  • Pain radiating from the back of the neck towards the eye
  • Stiff neck
  • Migraine pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Throbbing pain when putting head down
  • Tiredness

Chiropractic Treatments of headaches and muscle tightness

  • Trigger point release to the muscles in the suboccipital region can alleviate the pain
  • Cervical adjustments can help release tension in the upper cervical spine and therefore release the pressure to surrounding muscles.
  • Specific neck exercises.
  • Deep tissue massage to release trigger points in suboccipital muscles.
  • Dry needling is also a technique that can be used by the chiropractors to release trigger points in the muscles which alleviate the headache symptoms.  

Corrective Actions:

  • Keep the muscles of the neck warm by using clothing or heat packs. 
  • Avoid sustained and strained postures of the head
  • Learn to relax the muscles of the neck and do passive seated stretches of the suboccipital muscles. 
  • Avoid cold draft or air conditioner on neck
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Good pillow
  • Eight hours sleep at night

We are located at 3/45 Central Walk Joondalup, opposite the City of Joondalup Library and behind the Dept of Licencing. We are local to Woodvale, Edgewater, Iluka, Heathridge, Beldon, Sinagra, Pearsall, Connolly residents, but have many who visit from further away. We have HICAPS available so you can claim immediately from your Health Fund Provider; Medibank, HBF, HIF, BUPA, NIB, CUA, GMF. If your Health Fund is not listed please ask when making your booking.
Please call us on 9300 0095 for a booking or go online to lakesidechiro.com.au to get you in with one of our friendly staff members. Here at Lakeside Chiropractic our chiropractors have the skill set to deal with your tension headaches. 

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