Suboccipital Headaches

There are many different types of headaches that we see in our Chiropractic clinic from day to day. One of the more common headaches that we tend to see very good results in treating is the suboccipital headache. This headache is characterized by a deep, dull ache that tends to start at the base of the skull, radiate to around the top of the head, into the forehead. It's named as such because the headache stems from tight muscles and trigger points in the suboccipital muscles, which connect the upper cervical vertebrae to the base of the skull. It is very common for an issue that begins in these muscles to cause headaches because these tiny muscles also have some small connections to the thick membrane that lines the inside of the skull, called the dura.

Common signs and symptoms of a headache stemming from the suboccipitals include pain, stiffness, and a dull ache in the upper neck and base of the skull, pain on the back of the head, and pain in the forehead and behind the eyes. Sometimes there may be visual disturbances or nausea, but those tend to be more common in migraine type headaches.

Video: Suboccipital Headaches, Neck Pain, and Graston Technique

There are a number of treatments we utilize for headaches, most of which include decreasing muscle spasm and correcting improper posture habits. Chiropractic adjustments have also shown great results in reducing headaches that occur because of neck issues. Graston technique is an instrument assisted soft tissue technique that works at breaking up scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles, and provides great results in our clinic as well. overall, we find that addressing muscular issues as well as joint mechanics and posture all provide the basis for decreasing headaches, especially suboccipital related ones.