What is SCM?
SCM stands for Sternocleidomastoid. It is the muscle that sits in front on both sides of the neck as shown in the figure. SCM is responsible for rotation of the neck to one side when acting alone, and forward flexion of the neck when SCM on both sides act together. It works together with other muscles of the neck, the Trapezius and Scalenes during side bending of the neck as well as with Scalenes during deep forced inhalation.
It may look innocent sitting there in front of the neck, most people are not quite aware of it; but it can be a headache… literally causing a headache!
Why is SCM so important?
SCM can cause tremendous amount of pain when containing trigger points and it is a very common site for trigger point development. Trigger points can occur in both parts of the muscle, the Sternal head and the Clavicular head either separately or simultaneously on both parts and can also spread to the opposite SCM on the other side of the neck.
Trigger points in the Sternal part can cause pain to spread behind and above the eye, around the jaw (TMJ), and the back and top of the head. Trigger points in the Clavicular part can cause pain over the forehead, around the eye, over the cheek, in the throat, molar teeth and when severe can spread to the opposite side of the forehead.
What are the symptoms and problems associated with SCM?
SCM trigger points can produce pain and variety of symptoms such as:
What causes trigger points in SCM?
Most commonly trigger points develop in SCM when the muscle is overload or overstretched as well as keeping the neck in awkward positions for too long or forcefully and abruptly moving the neck, for example:
How can SCM trigger points be treated?
There are several ways to help treat trigger points including:
So get your SCM checked when you’re suffering from headaches, facial pain or migraine-related symptoms.