Sternocleido-what? Part 3 of 4

By Sharon Truelove

In parts 1 and 2 of our Sternocleidomastoid series of 4, we discussed referred pain and balance problems.

The Sternocleidomastoid is palpated easily.  It attaches at the sternum, the clavicle and the mastoid process which is behind the ear. It allows the head to turn and also helps to maintain stability of the head when the body is in movement.  Trigger points in SCM, can cause a wide variety of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed.

When trigger points are found in the sternal  branch of SCM; blurred, dimmed or double vision may result.  Trigger points in SCM can also cause droopy eyelids from referred spams in orbicularis oculi as well as eye twitching. When you are reading, the text may seem to jump around on the page. Red eyes, tearing of eyes, even a runny nose can be culprits of referred trigger points.






Technique:  To see if you have any tender spots, feel along the attachment site at the sternal end. If you find any tenders spots, apply compression and as you feel the tissue soften begin to apply cross fiber friction.


1. Do any of you suffer from the above trigger point symptoms that affect vision/eyes?

2. Locate your own SCM and see if there are any tender spots in the sternal branch.  If so, massage them out and report your findings.

3. Find someone with tender or trigger points in their SCM and help them feel better via massage and report you findings.

18 thoughts on “Sternocleido-what? Part 3 of 4”

  1. My SCM is constantly very sore and extremely tight!
    Since these blogs about the techniques I have been doing some self massage in it and its loosened it up alot !

  2. I always seem to be hurting in my sternocleidomatoid unfortunelty. I applied compression and cross fiber friction on the sternal head and it did let up a little but no matter how often i work it, it always seems to still hurt. I think this is because I am a belly sleeper and my neck is always turned but not sure. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    1. use some pillows & prop yourself at night sleeping w/your spine aligned (pillows can be aligned for belly sleeping). It’s not an easy habit to change, but the improvement of less ache & pain is certainly worth it.

  3. My scm is fine.
    Yesterday a friend of mine had some pretty bad knots in his so I worked them out. He definitely felt better after.

  4. that is a great advise Sharon. I do the pillow sleeping method. I have a little one that contours to my legs, so I can have my spine aligned . It really works, you should try Mel.Anyway, about the blog, I have vision problems, but unfortunately is old age. I massage my SCM frequently and I have my family as my guinea pigs.They love it. My husband have red eyes constantly and I wonder if the massage will help. I will try more times because he really has tender points. Thanks.

  5. I have a droopy eye and I also have a twitching eye. So finding the tender spots along the attachment sites. After I massaged the tender spot my eyes felt like they were more open. My eyes felt great. I also tried it on my husband and he felt a lot of relief in that area.

  6. I tend to sleep wrong often. So, I find that I have tender spots on my right side. These techniques have helped me be able to take care of them and reduce the pain that it causes me.

  7. My roommate’s eye tends to twitch when he feels tired, next chance i get i’m going to check his SCM for him. If the SCM is causing the eye twitch then he can self massage when i’m not around and hopefully it will help him.

  8. When I first tried this my scm was tender and I used this technique alot and I haven’t had anymore tender spots. I had got into a habbit that when I got bored that I would palpate it. I love these blogs, they have been very useful for me and I have been able to share them with other people and hopefully potential clients.

  9. I get the occasional eye twitch, which can be very annoying and last for several days. Next time I get an eye twitch I will have to try this out. I might need some help with locating the proper area though.

  10. I think I suffer from all the trigger point symptoms. I felt along the SCM and man was it tender. They were more on the left than the right. I get red eyes real easily, and the are watery all the time. I have hard time reading books or computer screens for a period of time because the words do start moving around on me and blending together. My grandma has had her eyelids lifted several times and I sure hope I do not follow her genes.

  11. I never realize that my scm is tight but when I look up and to the side I always feel how tight that muscle is. It feels so good to stretch out my scm’s and when I am done my neck just feels so great.

  12. I am kinda funny about my neck with phobias and the other day i slept wrong and seems like i strained it. So i thought UGH i need to try this and see if it will help. and IT DID!

  13. just felt my acm and the whole thing feels like one giant knot. i have had all of the signs of it also just never knew the cause

  14. I have a constant eye twitch, but I believe it is more from stress. However, I will try this technique and see if it will help.
    Thanks Sharon for sharing!

  15. I personally don’t heave any problems with the area. But my mother has major neck problems frequently. I would definitely like to try some of these techniques on her. Hopefully it can provide some relief. Thank you for sharing.