Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt a headache on the top of your head? Or maybe you start feeling this type of headache shortly after a car accident. It may be a pounding headache, deep and relentless.
This type of headache is called a vertex headache, and we see this condition regularly in our Burnaby physiotherapy clinic. This is usually caused by a muscle in the neck called splenius capitis. In this article, I will show you 3 ways to help relieve this top-of-the-head headache.
What Causes Vertex Headaches?
Tension and trigger points on the splenius capitis causes Vertex Headache, these include
This is a muscle that originates from the vertebrae of the lower neck and upper thoracic spine and attaches to the back of the skull.
The main movement of this muscle group is extending and rotating the neck on the same side. Keeping the neck in a sustained position like this can aggravate an existing trigger point.
When you develop trigger points in these areas of the splenius capitis, the headache can refer to the top of the head. Relief of the vertex headache can only be achieved by strategies to releasing the trigger points and relaxing this muscle.
How To Treat Vertex Headache And Relieve Top Of Head Pain
Sitting back in a comfortable chair with back support and relaxing your shoulders
Self Trigger Point Release (With Foam Roller/Tennis Ball)
Rolling and applying pressure on the trigger points may intensify the vertex headache briefly. If you feel it, hold it there to your comfort level and until the headache subsides. Generally 30 seconds at each spot is sufficient. You may need to work on multiple regions like going up or down of the splenius capitis muscle to release the tension completely.
You may get immediate relief after this but will need to avoid neck rotation/extension postures after the self trigger point release. It is also important not to overdo the self-trigger point release, as it can make the neck area more sensitive and less effective. If your vertex headache increases or unchanged, seek help from physiotherapy services in Burnaby.
To enhance the effect of the stretch and trigger point release, try to apply some head on the back of the neck, upper back and shoulders. This helps to soothe and relax the splenius capitus. You can lie face up with a supportive pillow for the neck.
Perform deep breathing exercises to help fully relax the body and muscles. You can do this before and after stretching the muscles or just by itself. I recommend a thermophore heating pack for this. It provides deep moist heat to effectively release to vertex headaches.
There you have it. Check this muscle out and these solutions if you are suffering from a vertex headache. Feel free to seek out our Burnaby Physiotherapists at EastWest should you have any difficulties.