Your sternocleidomastoid muscle is located in your neck originating from the sternum and clavicle and inserting at the mastoid process on the neck. Its main role is rotation of the neck and flexion. This muscle is the main cause of wry neck or torticollis.
The sternocleidomastoid is also the common cause of headaches that originate from behind the ear and move up and above the eye sometime splaying down to the cheek.
Soft tissue Occupational Therapists specialise in the treatment of sternocleidomastoid muscle pain. We take a holistic approach to the treatment of this muscle. Initially we work on achieving a decrease in spasming through the cervical spine muscles, therefore achieving pain relief. We then provide home treatment techniques such as gentle mobilisation, heat treatment etc. Stretching for your cervical muscles should be completed under therapist guidance as there may be a risk of a spasm reflex occurring (i.e. stretching causes the muscle to tighten further). Finally, we look at what caused the sternocleidomastoid muscle pain in the first place and work towards prevention of it happening again. This may involve a thorough investigation into sleep positioning, desk positioning or driving postures. This step is integral to achieving long term pain relief and is something that our team of Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists are highly trained in.