Headaches, Headaches, Headaches.




We get lots of clients in with headaches that are making their lives a misery. Headaches are really common these days, so what is going on? Assuming all the necessary medical checks have been carried out, it is fair to assume it is a muscular issue. So many muscles attach up onto the skill, the upper traps, the sternocleidomastoid, the extensors of the neck, to name but a few.


How often do you either stretch or trigger point the upper shoulder and neck muscles and get referrals into the head. So what is going on here? 🤔


Well, those muscles don't just attach onto the skull and stop there, they are interconnected via fascial networks that are affected by tight muscles. So if we have a tight upper traps muscle, it will create a traction force that creates tension through the fascia of the skull.


Let's take that common posture, the protracted shoulder posture. When the shoulders round forwards, the humeral head will also follow. An anteriorly positioned humeral head will stop some of the rotator cuff muscles from working properly. Muscles such as supraspinatus and the external rotators of teres minor and infraspinatus are placed in a biomechanically inefficient position, which will, over time, weaken them.


So what happens if a muscle such as supraspinatus is not working properly? Well its job is to instigate the abduction of the humerus, as well as to draw the head of humerus into the acromion process, along with the other rotator cuffs, if it can't do this, the deltoid will overpower it; the upper traps will begin to get involved to stabilise the humeral head and as a result, they start to overwork and get tight..... and where do they attach? Well, into the skull...


If we look at the effect of a protracted shoulder on the centre of balance of the body, as the shoulders round, the head has to move forward, otherwise you would fall over. The muscles involved in protracting the head are the sternocleidomastoid muscles which also attach into the skull at the mastoid process.... You get where I am going with this. 😀


So you can get a very long way with headaches by loosening these tight muscles, but loosening them alone is not enough, the problem will return, you need to solve the protracted humeral head, shoulder girdle and skull to truly solve this problem.



If you are using this for CPD try this question.


Which muscles would you need to strengthen to return each of these areas to correct position:

  1. Gleno-humeral joint

  2. Shoulder girdle

  3. Skull

If a trainer, devise a plan to correct this imbalance with both stretches and strengthening work.


If a therapist, which muscles do you need to loosen and which to strengthen and what home program can you devise for your client.


Then write it all up in your CPD log, for your Free Reinge Education logbook, Click here and subscribe to our newsletter.



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