Hi there. Dr. Dennis Barley here, your chiropractor for headaches in Fairhaven, MA.
After we’ve started working with you for your headaches at Barley Wellness, what our doctors will do is give you some at home therapies that you can do to help yourself.
One of them being trigger point work.
A trigger point is this; it is a group of muscle fibers that have bound up. And underneath that bound up muscle fiber, when you bind up the muscle there’s lactic acid. But this trigger point is caused by a nerve irritation underneath there caused from a subluxation, maybe in your neck or upper back.
When we’ve started your treatment for these headaches, chiropractically, we’ll be adjusting those subluxated vertebrae. Those vertebrae that are out of alignment, we’ll be returning them
into alignment gently and start the rehabilitative process to maintain that alignment.
And in order to do that, we’ll probably have you do some at-home exercise for these headaches.
Now like I’ve said before, we have muscles all over our body and in the cervical region where most of our headaches come, especially tension headaches, there are muscles that get bound up with these trigger points.
If I get on top of one of those trigger points and I press down on it and I hold digital pressure there for a while, I will get the lactic acid moving out of those, between those fibers. And the fibers of the muscle will elongate. As they elongate, the tension in the muscle will go away.
So what can we do?
Well, I’m gonna talk first about these sub, what we call occipital, trigger points.
Again, on the model, the plastic model here. This is the back of the skull, here we’re looking from the side view, but here’s the back of the skull. This ridge here that you feel on the base of your skull, underneath there are all these muscles.
And if you just palpate or push your finger in kind of hard, you’ll feel some sore spots, if you feel a sore spot, hold it.
Typically hold it until the sore spot goes away or for about 20 seconds. Okay. And you can move to the next and the next, typically what I like to do is work both sides. Okay. And so I can work on both.
Now that that’s for those tension headaches, a couple other spots you can massage for tension headaches are down here in the trapezius which comes from the base of the skull down into the shoulder.
There’s something called the levator scapula. Same thing, it elevates your scapula, which is the wing bone in the back. Those will many times have trigger points.
So if I go in there and I gently squeeze, if I can squeeze between my thumb and my two fingers here like this, and I squeeze and hold for 20 seconds, many times that’ll go away.
Now, if I squeeze here, sometimes you may feel that pain radiate even up to the back of the eye, that’s all okay. But I mean, don’t put the death grip on there, but put a grip on there that’s gonna actually decrease the sensitivity that you feel there, so you can do that too. You can run your fingers along there, both sides, and I tend to suggest squeezing.
If you have a sinus headache or, you know, an allergic headache, there’s a couple of areas you can work on also. You can come over here to the cheer temporal region and you’ve seen people do this before. Kind of just rub in a circular motion over here, this many times will help relieve a headache. And you’ll see people doing this just naturally.
You can also come up to these sinuses here. You can actually get your thumbs, be gentle, but come underneath potentially if there’s a headache up in here, you can apply just a little pressure.
And then down here in the ethmoid sinuses, you can do the same thing, just gently around here. Also in your temporal mandibular joint or your jaw joint right here, there are trigger points that you can work with also.
So again, you work on a trigger point so that that lactic acid build up, that nerve irritation underneath and lactic acid buildup, when you start putting pressure on, your getting the lactic acid to move out.
Here’s the thing though, underneath that trigger point is a nerve that’s irritated. And that nerve is coming from somewhere in your spine.
So you can do all the trigger point manipulation you want until you’re blue, but it’s not gonna correct the problem unless you get the subluxation corrected.
So that’s how we work with patients with headaches and those are some of the home trigger point work that they can do to relieve those headaches.