Are you experiencing tired eyes or a raccoon mask of pain wrapping around from your eyes to behind your ears? You may be experiencing a suboccipital trigger point. These 8 small muscles pack a punch and can cause some serious headaches around and behind the eyes.

Sitting in a head forward posture for long periods at a time can promote these trigger points/knots to form and build up. Add in a dash of stress and voila, you’ve got yourself a live tension type headache for the day. 

Here are some tips and tricks to help relieve the superficial tension you are experiencing from these angry little muscles.

Self Massage Using A Yoga Or Lacrosse Ball

Lie on your back and place the ball right under the base of your skull. While taking a nice deep breath, on the exhale, allow your head to roll towards one side, focusing specifically on one side at a time.

**No need to press into the ball. Allow gravity and your deep belly breathing to allow these muscles to melt away into the ball. Believe me. If they are sore, you will feel it.

Chin Tucks

It’s time to stretch them out with some chin tucks: In an upright position, use two fingers on your chin to guide your chin directly back into a double chin. Yes, I know, it is not a flattering exercise but it does help! Hold the double chin for 3 seconds and release. I would repeat this 5 times, twice daily to notice a difference within these muscles.

**Make sure while performing this exercise that you do not tilt your  head up or down. We want to solely target the suboccipitals without straining anything else.


The suboccipital may be a smaller muscle in the body but they can sure leave a mighty big mark on our day to day lives when they’re angry with us. Give these exercises a try the next time you start experiencing suboccipital tension pain. It may not just be due to straining your eyes by staring at a computer screen for long hours.


Stephanie Lanthier, Registered Massage Therapist at Whole Therapy
Love to treat sport injuries, TMJ, post-concussion and deep tissue massage.
FaceBook: /StephanieLanthierRMT