Headaches and Migraines…

Sternocleidomastoid massage
Sternocleidomastoid muscle massage

… are often debilitating, and frequently causing disruption in the pain bearers life. What causes these headaches? Frequently, chronically tight muscles in the shoulders, neck, head and jaw.

What can you do to alleviate or reduce the intensity and number of headaches caused from these chronically tight muscles? Find a neuromuscular massage therapist with a specialty in this area. Emily Boudwin graduated Summa Cum Laude as a neuromuscular massage therapist in 2010. She has taken the time to focus on relieving and reducing pain from headaches, migraines and TMJ pain.


Common Symptoms of tight SCM include:

  • Sternoceidomastoid muscle
    SCM muscle rotates the head left and right, stabilizes the neck, brings the chin to the chest.

    Tension headache

  • Muscles sore to touch
  • Persistent, dry, tickly cough
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Seasickness or car sickness
  • Pain refers to top of the head, back of the head, cheek and over the top and behind the eye
  • Sinus congestion on affected side, chronic sore throat from referred pain rather than infection
  • Weeping and reddening of the eye, blurred vision, drooping or twitching of the eyelid
  • One-sided deafness or crackling in the ear
  • Headaches across the whole forehead
  • Deep ear pain
  • Pain in the cheek and molar teeth
  • Referred eye and sinus symptoms
  • Dizziness and disturbed balance/vertigo

Learn how to…

… use self-massage techniques to reduce the intensity of your headache at home. Grasping the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle for a period of time will reduce the headache that is presenting around the eye, as well as other areas surrounded by dots and shaded areas in the picture to the left.
This is a neuromuscular technique that will be taught to the headache, migraine pain sufferer during their treatment session, to use at home.

Self-Massage of the SCM muscle

  1. Turn head to the right
  2. Grasp the middle of your right SCM muscle, with your left forefinger and thumb, until you feel tenderness or a sensitive spot in the muscle

    SCM muscle, red areas are referred pain areas.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds
  4. Release and move 1 finger breadth up
  5. Repeat, until you reach the top of the muscle
  6. Repeat steps on Left SCM
  7. On a pain scale 1 to 10 (1= no pain 10=excruciating pain), do not go above a 7.  Lessen the pressure of your grasp, if there is too much pain
  8. Move away from the mid-line of the throat if you feel a pulse
  9. The SCM muscle should reach a point, after a few sessions, where there is no pain
  10. Self-massaging the SCM muscle may cause you to feel tenderness or a sensitive area in the muscle, but also behind and around the eye
  11. Muscle pain and referred pain from the SCM indicates a need to relax the muscle through massage




“I often get very severe headaches that neurologists in both North America and Europe have been unable to diagnose or treat. Emily’s massage techniques are able to make chronic pain that would normally last for hours go away quickly without having to use drugs.”
Ryan B, Warsaw


“I have had massages from many different therapists over the last fifteen years, and Emily Boudwin is by far one of the best. I first learned of her services through a Groupon; now she is my regular masseuse.   Not only does she provide a soothing and relaxing experience, but the tension and tightness I have had for years has improved with each visit. I also experience debilitating migraines that used to occur almost once a month, and have only had one since I started going to Emily for focused ‘Stress Relief’ massages six months ago! She is knowledgeable and professional, and has a genuine concern for your health and well-being. I highly recommend her.”
Emily C.   Boise

Relieving Headaches Through Self-Massage: Sternocleidomastiod Muscle
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One thought on “Relieving Headaches Through Self-Massage: Sternocleidomastiod Muscle

  • April 16, 2017 at 1:02 PM

    Great blog Emily! Thankyou for sharing! I learned something new! Headaches are no joke! I use essential peppermint oil on my clients with headaches. I always have great results! 🙂

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