Headaches and the Shrug Muscle

On one of the forums that I moderate, a member was saying that she gets terrible headaches where she feels she can’t even hold her head up straight.  As she described the terrible pain, saying she had been to her physician and had many tests done which were unsuccessful at finding  the answer, it became clear that it was muscles pulling on the bones and impinging on nerves.

A muscle called the levator scapulae is key to severe headaches. Nicknamed the “shrug muscle,” the levator scapulae lifts your shoulders up so you can shrug.  This muscle originates on your cervical 1-4 vertebrae and it inserts into the top of your shoulder blade, so when the muscle is shortened by repetitive strain and spasms, it lifts your shoulders.  However, the short muscle is also pulling down on your cervical vertebrae, and also pulling the vertebrae to the side.

Your brain goes into your spinal cord just above your first cervical vertebrae. As your levator scapulae is pulling on the bones it causes them to press into your spinal cord, right at the base of your brain, causing severe pain in your head.  As the bones are pulled it can actually cause your head to not sit straight on the first vertebrae so you feel like your head is tilted (and it is!).

The techniques to fix this situation aren’t hard to do, but they are very specific and it takes some time to get the muscles to totally release the grip on the bones.  You need to go back and forth, from your left side to your right side, and even working on the muscles that run along the back of your neck. All of your neck muscles end up being involved because as your cervical vertebrae move it upsets the balance of every muscle.

If you already have Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living you’ll find all of the treatments in the neck and shoulder chapters.

It’s wonderful how it works so well, and so fast.  This is also the treatment for whiplash, so if you’ve ever had whiplash, even years ago,  you’ll get relief by doing the treatments for your neck and shoulder chapters.

Wishing you well,



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