Myofascial Trigger Point Headaches

What is a myofascial trigger point?

A myofascial trigger point is a hyper-irritable area within a band of taut muscle. It is painful on palpation and can lead to a referred pain distribution.

Types of Headaches

There are several types of headaches with tension type headache being very frequent ones in today society. It has been reported that pain from the head, neck and shoulders can refer or radiate to the head regions resulting in a headache. Myofascial trigger points have been identified as a potential cause of this pain which can lead to tension type headache.

There are two types of trigger points – active and latent

Latent trigger points are present in the healthy, non-symptomatic individual and may not be an immediate source of pain. Which means there is a trigger point present but it is not causing pain symptoms as yet. How ever at times they can lead to restricted range of movement and other muscle dysfunctions such as reduced range of motion. muscle strength and fatigue.

An active trigger point presents with clinical symptoms including local pain, referred pain and muscle dysfunction. In this case the trigger point is causing a pain which may cause the sufferer to seek treatment. Such active trigger points in the neck and shoulder muscles have been associated with the referred pain patterns observed in those suffering from tension type headaches.

Tension type headaches – related muscles

The muscles that can cause tension headaches are the following muscles:

  • The upper trapezius (running from the top of the neck to the collar bone).
  • Sub-occipital muscles (located within the suboccipital compartmentof the neck; deep to the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, splenius and semispinalis muscles. They collectively act to extend and rotate the head).
  • The sternocleidomastoid (at the front of the neck, running from the sternum/clavicle to the temporal region of the skull).
  • The temporalis muscle (running from the temporal region of the skull to the jaw).

Cause – forward head position

Forward head posture position will cause trigger points. This is a posture misalignment problem where the chin tends to poke forwards, often with rounded shoulders.

A study found that all those with a forward head position had trigger points. The more the forward head position is the more likely the trigger points would be active and produce pain resulting in a tension type headache and to which would be of greater severity and last longer.


The good news is that this problem can be treated, and thereby bring relief to many sufferings from tension type headaches. Sport massage using myofascial trigger point release techniques will treat the tension headaches and combine with specific exercises to address the posture problems will help to relief the cause of the tension headache.

During your visit your condition will be assessed and steps taken to assist with your rehabilitation. After the session FREE muscle stretching sheets can be provided to assist with healing your injury. It is recommended that you continue these exercises at home to speed up the healing process. To book in for a session, please call Jade Tran on 0425 444 304. I hope you found the article helpful in further understanding your symptoms. Any opinions expressed within my articles/blog are from my personal perspective, not that of my Professional Associations / Educational Institutions
.Articles are intended to convey information only and should not being misconstrued as medical advice. If you have any concerns regard to medical matter, you need to consult a professional healthcare provider.

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