The name Sterno-cleido-mastoid sounds like it’s some kind of dinosaur or a creature from outer space but it’s actually the muscles on both sides of your neck. Sternocleidomastoid is commonly abbreviated to SCM, which is so much easier to say.
When you turn your head the SCM is the muscle that pops out running from the side of you head behind your ear to the front of your neck attaching to your breast and collar bones.
The SCM muscle helps you to turn your head, tilt from side to side and when both muscles contract they make you look down or move your head forward.
If these muscles are tight they can contribute to a forward head posture so common today with people using computers or phones for a large part of the day. This can cause the shoulders to follow in a forward, rounded posture contributing to pain and tension in the back and neck.
A tight and shortened SCM can form trigger points which can be implicated in causing many different kinds of headaches that many people so often experience. A tight SCM muscle can also cause dizziness, nausea, visual disturbances, sore throats and sometimes ear pain.
Remedial Massage Therapy can be very effective in treating neck and shoulder pain of which the SCM muscle can be a likely culprit contributing to the pain and tension. Using a combination of massage, trigger point therapy, acupressure and stretching, massage therapy can achieve excellent results in treating this commonly tight but often overlooked muscle.
Very often when the trigger points in this muscle are released and the muscle is in a relaxed state people find that their symptoms are greatly reduced if not eliminated.
So if you’re suffering from neck pain, headaches or even migraines a tight Sternocleidomastoid muscle could be a major contributing factor.
About the Author:
Andrew Derbyshire is a Remedial Massage Therapist at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre and owner and operator of X-Tension Remedial Massage. Andrew is extremely passionate about all things related to health and wellness including massage therapy, nutrition, natural human movement, sleep, and natural therapies. Andrew also works as a nurse at a local hospital. He has detailed knowledge about many medical issues and is an active advocate in promoting health and wellness