Relieve Headaches at the Top of the Head

Do you have a headache at the top of the head, and don’t know what to do about it?

Do you want to know where this pain comes from and what you can do about it?

If you do, then you are able to take care of it yourself.

Headaches are often caused by muscles.

To be more specific, they are often caused by tense muscles. You can remove this tension yourself, thus freeing yourself from pain. How? By doing a self-massage!

That is of course, provided your muscles are the cause of the pain, which they usually are.

On this page I will show you which muscles are involved and how you can massage them yourself.

For this you do not need to be a doctor or therapist—so don’t panic. You can do it!

All you need is your hands and perhaps a small massage wand. The massage wand undeniably facilitates the massage, but it is not absolutely necessary.

Are you sceptical when it comes to self-massage? Don’t be intimidated. With practice you will succeed at doing the massage, and the effects will amaze you.

1. Your self-massage

Headache at the top of the head: Description of the self-massage.

The two muscles referred to are located at the side and the back of your neck and are called sternocleidomastoid and splenius capitis.

Don’t let these names scare you; you won’t need them for the massage.

Nevertheless, I prefer to mention them for the sake of thoroughness.

Remark: Massage yourself daily until the pain disappears!

Now, let’s get to it!

The massage can and probably will be quite painful. But since you are doing it yourself, you always have full control.

On a pain scale of 0 to 10, 0 means no pain and 10 excruciating pain.

The pain you experience during the massage should be situated between 4 and 7.

If there are Trigger Points in your muscles, then it may be that the massage pressure on the muscles in question can cause or amplify pain that is “specific” to you.

This is a good sign because it shows that you are working in the right place.

1.1 Headache at the top of the head. Step 1: Self-massage of the sternocleidomastoid

This is the thick muscle on the side of your neck, which runs from the sternum and clavicle to the occiput.

Follow the steps below to massage it:

  • Place your finger on the top of your sternum and try to feel the tendon of the sternocleidomastoid.
  • Move about 2 to 3 centimetres higher. There you will feel the actual muscle and can take it between your fingers.
  • Follow it from there along its entire length to the back of your head.
  • Apply pressure on the muscle; roll it between your fingers and this way look for sore spots.
  • This can be rather uncomfortable if the muscle is tight.
  • But don’t let that stop you. If a muscle hurts, in 90% of cases it is a sign of excess tension, which means you should massage and loosen it up.

Use the thumb and index finger technique and roll each painful spot back and forth between your fingers for a few times.

Or use the pressure-motion technique. Press on the muscle and move your head very slowly in all possible directions.

Concentrate on painful movements without exacerbating the pain.

It might be too much for you in the beginning, and you might only be able to roll each spot 5 times or move your head a few times.

That’s OK! In the coming days and weeks, the pain will subside and the massage will become more enjoyable.

Carefully examine the entire muscle and make sure you work on all sensitive spots in the subsequent massage sessions.

If you feel your pulse under your fingers during the massage, it means you are touching an artery in the neck.

Let it go and grab the muscle again, but this time without the artery.

Do not massage the artery!

You can also massage the sternocleidomastoid with the Trigger Fairy. To do this, place the head of the Fairy on the upper part of the muscle, behind your ear and under your skull.

From there, execute slow massage strokes and look for painful spots in the muscle.

To stay on the muscle, your massage strokes need to run somewhat diagonally, since the muscle itself runs diagonally, i.e. from behind your ear down to your sternum.

As an alternative to the precise massage strokes, you can also use the pressure-motion technique.

1.2 Headache at the top of the head. Step 2: Self-massage of the splenius capitis

Your splenius capitis is the second muscle that you need to take care of. It sits at the back of your neck and is a bit harder to find than the sternocleidomastoid.

That does not matter, you just need to know where to massage. If you want to know more, there is a guide on how to palpate out the muscle at the end of this page.

You can use your fingers or the Trigger Fairy as a massage tool.

The muscles are best massaged with precise massage strokes or the pressure-motion technique.

  • With the precise massage strokes, start a little bit before and stop just beyond a painful spot and carry out a few, slow strokes.
  • For the pressure-motion technique, press into the muscle and make a couple of slow and large “yes-no” movements with your head.

To spare your fingers, I recommend the Trigger Fairy. The massage is also a lot easier with this wand. This means you’ll be more efficient and can get the pain under control more quickly.

  • Place the head of the Fairy on the muscle directly adjacent to the cervical spine.
  • Examine the entire area adjacent to the cervical spine for painful spots by pressing into the muscle.
  • Apply pressure at times from behind as well as from the side.
  • Massage painful spots with precise massage strokes or the pressure-motion technique.

Palpate the splenius capitis muscle with your fingers

  • Place one finger on the top of your sternocleidomastoid i.e. on the back of your head.
  • Rotate your head slowly to the opposite side. When doing this movement, the sternocleidomastoid tenses.
  • Slide your finger about one centimetre in the direction of the cervical spine, until you feel a small hollow. Stay there.

Self-massage of the splenius capitis using your fingers

  • Rotate your head back in the other direction. Once you reach a rotation of about 45° and more on the other side, you will feel a muscle tense under your fingers. This is the splenius capitis.
  • From here you can follow it a few centimetres downward until it is covered by other muscles of your neck.
  • You will especially be able to feel the excess tension in the muscle when you lower your chin to your chest.
  • Concentrate primarily on the painful areas of the muscle.
  • If your hands are not strong, make sure to take frequent breaks.

2. Headache at the top of the head and your self-assessment

Your self-assessment is important.

  • How do you feel after the massage?
  • Which techniques help you along? Which give you the feeling you’re doing something wrong, or bring nothing to you?

Evaluate the results of your self-massage regularly. Experiment with…The position of your fingers or the Fairy

  • The frequency of the massage
  • The number of massages etc.

Keep what works and gives you the best results.

I thank you for reading and hope to have helped you with your headaches.