Now you may be asking what is a trigger point and how does it create pain in our muscles. A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot, a palpable nodule in a taut band of skeletal muscle. Direct compression of a trigger point can elicit local tenderness, local twitch response and referred pain. Referred pain is when pain is perceived at a location other than the site of a painful stimulus. Trigger points can develop within a single muscle or a group of muscles, as a direct result of injury to the fibres from trauma, repetitive motion, or periods of immobility. Mechanical factors such as poor posture or ergonomics cause muscles to undertake frequent and improper loads that also attribute to trigger points.
A group of muscles that frequently experience trigger points is known as the suboccipital muscles. This is a group of four muscles that are located at the base of the skull and are responsible for subtle movements between the skull and first and second vertebrae in our neck. The suboccipital muscles commonly become tense and tender due to factors such as poor ergonomics when sitting at the computer or scrolling on our phones, eye strain, and trauma such as a whiplash injury. Pain from the suboccipital muscles commonly feels like a band wrapping around the head or a pressure behind the eyes. Therefore, tightness and trigger points within the suboccipitals muscles can be a large contributor of headaches for many people.