Trigger Point Therapy - Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Syndrome
Stretching the SCM following trigger point treatment
SCM syndrome typically presents as neck stiffness with decreased rotation - sometimes along with nausea, tinnitus, vertigo, or spasms in the neck
SCM - Common Trigger Point Sites
Causes are often posture related with ‘Upper Crossed Pattern’ a common indicator, and it is very much associated with aging.
SCM Syndrome can also be caused by a trauma such as whiplash and is commonly connected with occupation-related repetitive strain - for example, it is known to be prevalent in violinists.
Remember that the head is heavy!
In order to maintain balance the eyes and ears need to be kept level. As people age and experience spinal degeneration, it becomes harder for muscles to prevent the head flexing forward.
We see this a lot in our clinics and the therapist should be aware of the complications associated with treating elderly clients with SCM Syndrome related to spinal degeneration.
In these cases, the elderly client will present with less muscle tone and chronically tightened SCM’s.
SCM and Trigger Point formation - ‘Relative’ head weight according to posture
Spatial Awareness and Balance
Travell and Simons wrote extensively regarding their observations on the role of the sternocleidomastoid for spatial awareness and balance.
They observed that over time a tight SCM with trigger points may well lead to headaches, disequilibrium or vertigo, without the neck stiffness typically associated with SCM Syndrome.
This makes sense when we consider the changes in SCM tone and trigger point formation that occur secondary to altered postural dynamics of the head forward/upper crossed pattern (as above).
It's worth mentioning here that treating SCM trigger points seems to produce consistently good results in addressing the type of dizziness and vertigo that many people with fibromyalgia experience.
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About Niel Asher Education
Niel Asher Education is a leading provider of distance learning and continued education courses.
Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, we provide course and distance learning material for therapists and other healthcare professionals in over 40 countries.
Our courses are accredited by over 90 professional associations and national accreditation institutions including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
Full details of all international course accreditations can be found on our website.
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NAMTPT AWARD 2017
We are honored to have received the 2017 "Excellence in Education" Award from the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists.
Since 1999 Niel Asher Education has won numerous awards for education and in particular for education and services provided in the field of trigger point therapy.
Award Winning Instructors
Niel Asher Healthcare course instructors have won a host of prestigious awards including 2 lifetime achievement honorees - Stuart Hinds, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, AAMT, 2015, and Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, MD, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, NAMTPT, 2014.
NAT courses are accredited for continuing education by over 30 professional associations in North America, United Kingdom, Australia, and European Union countries. These include The National Academy of Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy Board of California, AAFA, National Certification Board for Manual Therapists and Bodyworkers, Sports Therapy Institute, and Myotherapy Australia.
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In addition to national accreditation for continued education, each course that we offer includes "NAT Learning Credits". By taking and completing courses you can accumulate NAT credits to qualify for NAT certification.
There are currently 3 levels of NAT certification. Certifying NAT is a valuable way to show your clients that you take continued education seriously, and to promote your skills and qualifications.
Niel Asher Technique
Since 1999 the Niel Asher Technique for treating trigger points has been adopted by over 100,000 therapists worldwide, and has been applied to the treatment of a number of common musculoskeletal injuries.
The Niel Asher Technique for treating frozen shoulder was first introduced and published in 1997 and has been widely adopted by therapists and exercise professionals working within elite sports and athletics.
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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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