The Suboccipital Triangle
Published in the Times Standard
      Have you ever had a sore scalp that is tender to touch, hurts when you raise your eyebrows or wiggle your ears? It can turn into pain at the back of the skull to the forehead, like a headache or tightness feeling of the temples. Most times these types of pain are caused by disorders of the nerves arising from the suboccipital triangle area of the skull and upper two cervical vertebrae.
      The suboccipital triangle consists of three deep muscles covered by dense fibro-fatty tissue and lying beneath the surface muscle called the semispinalis capitis. These muscles and deep membrane are connected to the base of the skull and the first two cervical vertebrae, the atlas (C1) and the axis (C-2). Exiting through a groove between the atlas and the skull is the first spinal nerve or the suboccipital nerve. This nerve controls the muscles around this suboccipital triangle. Arising between the atlas and the axis are the greater and lesser occipital nerves that supply the muscles of the skull at the top of the head, over the ears and the parotid glands. Disorders of this nerve are one of the causes of headaches. The cervicogencic headache arises at the back of the head and extends over the top of the head to the back of your eyes, referred to as occipital neuralgia.
      Other conditions can occur related to these spinal nerves and the connection to other nerves including the cranial nerves. Dizziness, insomnia, high blood pressure, chronic tiredness, sinus trouble, crossed eyes, hearing problems and headaches can all be caused by impingement disorders of these nerves. Through accidents, like whiplash, emotional trauma, stress and chronic tension, this suboccipital triangle as well as other cervical paraspinal muscles tighten and spasm. This tightness and spasm affects the vertebrae and related spinal nerves resulting in some of these conditions.
      The first chiropractic adjustment in the 1890’s restored the man’s hearing when D.D. Palmer adjusted his atlas vertebra. Dramatic results can occur when these upper two cervical vertebrae are adjusted and pressure relieved by restoring nerve flow from these upper occipital spinal nerves. The suboccipital triangle and paraspinal muscles can relax and return to normal function. You may find it easier to turn your head now that the tension is released and joint mobility restored.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, call our office for a free consultation to see if you could be helped through Chiropractic “naturally”.
Crosbie Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540