Trigger Point Therapy - Posterior Cervical Muscles
Trigger Point Therapy - Torsional Release Technique (Seated)
Posterior Cervical Muscles - Important Trigger Points for Treating Common Head and Neck Pain
[Latin longissimus, longest; capitis, of the head; semispinalis, half spinal; cervicis, of the neck]
Comprising: longissimus capitis, semispinalis capitis, and semispinalis cervicis.
Longissimus capitis: transverse processes of upper five thoracic vertebrae (T1–T5). Articular processes of lower three cervical vertebrae (C5–C7).
Semispinalis cervicis: transverse processes of upper ve or six thoracic vertebrae (T1–T6). Semispinalis capitis: transverse processes of lower four cervical and upper six or seven thoracic vertebrae (C4–T7).
Longissimus Capitis - Common Trigger Point Sites
Longissimus Capitis - Trigger Point Referred Pain Pattern
Longissimus capitis: posterior part of mastoid process of temporal bone. Semispinalis cervicis: spinous processes 2nd to 5th cervical vertebrae (C2–C5).
Semispinalis capitis: between superior and inferior nuchal lines of occipital bone.
Longissimus capitis: extends and rotates head. Helps maintain correct curvature of thoracic and cervical spine in the erect and sitting positions.
Semispinalis cervicis: extends thoracic and cervical parts of vertebral column. Assists rotation of thoracic and cervical vertebrae. Semispinalis capitis: most powerful extensor of the head. Assists in rotation of head.
Longissimus capitis: dorsal rami of middle and lower cervical nerves. Semispinalis cervicis: dorsal rami of thoracic and cervical nerves. Semispinalis capitis: dorsal rami of cervical nerves.
Basic Functional Movement
Longissimus capitis: keeps upper back straight (with correct curvatures).
Semispinalis cervicis and capitis. Examples: looking up; turning head to look behind.
Semispinalis Capitis/Cervicis - Common Trigger Point Sites
Semispinalis Capitis (upper) Trigger Point Referred Pain Pattern
Semispinalis Capitis (middle) and Cervicis Trigger Point Referred Pain Pattern
Multifidus (mid cervical). Even though not mentioned here, this muscle runs up the spine as part of the erector spinae, and so is relevant as part of the posterior cervical muscles.
Trigger Point Referred Pain Patterns
Several areas along the fibers, all radiating superiorly into head and skull and toward frontal region.
|Spray and Stretch||Yes|
|Deep Stroking Massage||Yes|
|Muscle Energy Techniques||Yes|
Headache, neck pain and stiffness, decreased cervical flexion, suboccipital pain, restricted neck rotation (often related to prolonged occupational positions), whiplash, pain using certain pillows, “burning” in scalp.
Poor posture, playing musical instruments, lying on front with head propped up, poor glasses, upper crossed pattern, kyphosis, scoliosis, wear and tear, cold drafts/ air conditioning, vertebral alignment issues, certain sports (e.g. archery), tight shirt/tie, depression.
Cervical mechanical dysfunction. Spondyloarthropathy of facets. Vertebral artery syndrome. Discopathy (cervical) 1st rib dysfunction. Polymyalgia rheumatica. Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis (seronegative spondyloarthropathy). Paget’s disease. Psoriatic arthropathy.
Trapezius, erector spinae, temporalis, digastricus, infraspinatus, levator scapulae, SCM, splenius capitis/cervicis, suboccipital muscles, occipitalis, pectoralis major.
General Advice to Patients
Occupational ergonomics. Posture. Eyewear. Use of ergonomic pillows. Heat and stretch.
Treating Whiplash - Torsional Release
Dry Needling for Trigger Points
Certify as a Trigger Point Therapist
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