CHARLOTTE – One place that you can almost instantly feel stress and relieve stress is right in the back of your skull. If you’ll reach back and feel where your spine reaches the back of your skull then move your fingers to the right or left about half an inch – those muscles are your suboccipitals. I’ll bet if you press on them with your fingertips, you’ll find the compression feels good.
What are they? The suboccipital muscles are four muscles that help retain your posture. They also help you move your head up, down, and move the skull as if you’re laying your ear on your shoulder.
What happens when they don’t work correctly? With today’s technology where we are constantly slouching and slumping over phones and computers, suboccipital muscles are prone to shortening. Besides the issues with posture, you might have issues/pain because of spinal degeneration.
Where do they hurt? You may have pain in the back of your neck and the back of your skull. This pain can also radiate to the sides of your head and even into the back of your eyes. Tension headaches are another sign that your suboccipitals are weak or strained. You might have a headache around your temple or around the occipital bones
How can massage help? Your massage therapist can perform some myofascial release on these muscles and/or possibly manipulate the muscles in hopes of relaxing them enough to have the brain calm down the nerves. Stretches and strengthening exercises might also help.
Lisa Lane has been a licensed massage and bodywork therapist for Massage Sanctuary for 8 years. Contact her at (704) 773-6863 for more information.