Causes of a stiff neck.

The levator scapulae muscle is located in your neck. It is responsible for raising your shoulder blade up to your ear, as well as side flexion of the neck. Trigger points develop in this muscle commonly due to poor posture, and stress holding patterns. Once developed these trigger points will cause a deep achy pain and stiffness in the neck.

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What is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.

This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.

Trigger points and headaches

Trigger points in a number of muscles can refer pain into the head causing headaches. One of the most common muscles is the trapezius. This is a large diamond shaped muscle in the upper back and neck. Trigger points in the upper portion of this muscle are the most common trigger points in the body. These points will refer pain into the head, behind the ear and into the temple. Trigger points usually won’t resolve on their own, a therapeutic intervention is required to release the point.

How trigger points form.

Activation of trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points (key/satellite, primary/secondary), disease, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), homeostatic imbalances, direct trauma to the region, collision trauma (such as a car crash which stresses many muscles and causes instant trigger points) radiculopathy, infections and health issues such as smoking.

Trigger points in the trapezius muscle.

The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle located in your back. This muscle is often overloaded due to poor sitting posture or excessive exercise. When this occurs trigger points will form. These points can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain. Trigger points in the upper traps are a leading cause of headache.