The Best Way To Relieve A Headache (That No One’s Talking About)

We often blame headaches on things like prolonged noise, too much screen time and changes in air pressure. While these factors definitely play a part, persistent headaches are very often caused by something simple – overworked neck muscles. 

Your neck has to put up with a lot. Not only does it support your skull but allows for almost constant movement, swallowing and stretching, and also serves as a pathway for lymphatic drainage. Whether your day to day life is very physical or entirely desk-based, your neck muscles are always working for you. It’s no coincidence that during a severe headache you’re likely to want to lay still – this allows the neck and shoulder muscles to have some respite from supporting your head. 

The good news is that there are simple ways to ease a headache by concentrating on pressure points in the neck. It’s quick to do yourself and means you don’t have to rely on painkillers to find relief. 

You can soften a pressure point by gently but firmly massaging it in a way that feels good. It’s normal to reproduce the headache by pushing on these trigger points – this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it shows you’re in the right spot. Regularly easing up your trigger points will lessen headaches over time and the symptoms that often come with them, such as vertigo, tinnitus, nausea and ‘fuzziness’ in your vision.  Here are some common trigger points for you to investigate.

Just below the earlobe, by the jaw: If you press here, you’re likely to feel tension, perhaps more on one side than the other. Pain in this area can be caused by awkward sleeping positions, a clenched jaw and emotional stress. It can contribute to headaches and can aggravate symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder. 

Diagram of trigger point in neck beside the jaw


At the back of the neck, at the top of the shoulder: Your muscles in this area might feel ‘knotty’, like a soft or painful lump. This can be caused by poor posture, whiplash or even too much heavy lifting, all of which puts pressure on your head. Try massaging this area with both hands, or if it’s too uncomfortable to reach, ask someone to do it for you.

Diagram of trigger point at bottom of the neck, top of the shoulder


The SCM (or the sternocleidomastoid muscle): This sounds technical, but the SCM is the long branch-like muscle that goes from behind your ear all the way to your collarbone. It’s easier to find if you turn your head and look in a mirror. Unsurprisingly, trigger points in this muscle often develop from repeated movement or just general fatigue in your neck. Try turning your head and pinching the muscle with your thumb and forefinger, spending more time on tender spots, while working upwards towards your skull.  

Diagram of SCM muscle, trigger point relief


Spend time easing up these pressure points for a few minutes every day for at least a week – you will ease tension in your head and neck, making persistent headaches fewer and further between. 

If you’re worried about headaches, don’t hesitate to book in with us for an adjustment. We’re always happy to help.