The SCM muscle or Sternocleidomastoid muscles can cause a whole host of problems which range from headaches to vertigo. This muscle serves several purposes.
Its primary function is to rotate and laterally flex the head to the side, and is an accessory breathing muscle — helping to elevate the ribcage during inhalation. However, this makes it susceptible to postural imbalances such a forward head posture, and shallow upper respiratory breathing arising from stress.
Although these muscles rarely hurt themselves, the symptoms which can be caused by the trigger points in the SCM muscle include (click on the links below to be directed to pages on how to treat those problems).
- Back of Head Pain
- Cheek Pain (like Sinusitis)
- Dizziness When Turning Head or Changing Field of View
- Double/Blurry/Jumpy Print Vision
- Dry Cough
- Ear Pain
- Earaches/Tinnitus (Ringing)/Itch
- Feeling Continued Movement in Car After Stopping\Vertigo
- Feeling Tilted When Cornering in Car
- Front of Chest Pain
- Frontal Headache
- Headaches or Migraines
- Post Nasal Drip
- Runny Nose
- Sore throat
- Tearing/Reddening of Eye, Drooping of Eyelid
- Temple and Eyebrow Pain
- Temporal Headache (Temples)
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain
- Throat & Front of Neck Pain
- Traveling Nocturnal Sinus Stuffiness
- Vertex Pain
- Visual Perception Problems
As you can see from the image below, trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid are active trigger points i.e. they refer pain far beyond where the actual trigger point is.
These muscles can also cause satellite trigger points in the Lateral Petrygoid muscle which is often the main cause of jaw pain. Hence treating these muscles is often a really good way to resolve a lot of the major issues you might face.
SCM muscle release
Here is a collection of stretches which are very effective in releasing the trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid muscles.
The two linked videos show how to release the SCM muscle. The first video shows how to release the trigger points and the second video shows how to stretch them out. Treating the SCM is very beneficial as that can often resolve a lot of headache problems