Sternocleidomastoid Pain
and Massage Therapy!

Sternocleidomastoid Pain can cause headaches, inability to turn head up and down, or inability to turn head from side to side. The patient might experience pain around the forehead, ear and behind the eyes.

Pain may also be felt at the top of the head or at the back of the head, or at the base of the skull, as this muscle is also responsible for head rotation and all bilateral movements of the head.

The patient also may have neck stiffness, although this symptom is not always present in every patient. Fainting spells (or near fainting spells), nausea, vertigo, and dizziness are also common.


When the head is in a slight forward position for long periods of time (as with being on a computer all day), prolonged position at an angle, an abnormal sleeping position, whiplash from a car accident, chronic cough during illness, scoliosis, and dental abscesses are often conditions that cause or at least aggrivate trigger points for Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle.

 Other Diagnoses

The patient may have also been diagnosed with other various types of headache syndromes like migraines, cluster headaches, or Trigeninal Neuralgia, in an effort to treat symptoms.

What a Massage Therapist will do  

The therapist may work muscles of the Upper Trapezius, Scalenes (muscles in the neck area), SCM, head, and shoulder, as the SCM has attachments on the mastoid process of the occipital bone, as well as insertions on the clavicle nad sternum.

A therapist may also suggest exercises to stretch and loosen the muscle, which may include taking the tip of the tongue and touching the back of the roof of your mouth, with ten or twelve repetitions at a time.

This DVD, Clinical Trigger Point Therapy Protocol for Neck Pain & Headaches teaches how to release trigger points associated with the SCM muscle, providing pain relief for those who suffer from dysfunction and damage from this common muscle injury. 

Most often, when working this muscle for pain relief, you will experience referral pain in other areas around the muscle.

This is a common disorder for those who have been in car accidents. You may be able to market your services to insurance companies, as well as physicians and chiropractors in your area.

Learning how to provide massage for common trigger point areas like those with Sternocleidomastoid pain, is important for any massage therapist, and you never know, maybe becoming the massage specialist in whiplash disorders may be your specialized "niche" area in massage therapy.

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Go back to Pain Syndromes Page from Sternocleidomastoid Pain

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