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  • Pain in the Suboccipital Tissue

    Last week I was working on my rolfer who was having restriction in her right shoulder and the right side of her neck.

    Two-thirds of the way through the session I began to work on her head. I could see, from my vantage point at the top of the table, that her head was crooked. Her nose went to left while her lower jaw went to the right. Her parietal bones went to the right, but the zygomatic and temporal bones leaned left. Much of her pain was in the suboccipital tissue.

    By working the anterior neck, balancing the first ribs, and allowing the sternoclavicular joints to naturally realign, we were able to take it down by half. The last step was to work with her head. I released the muscle and connective tissues in her head and face. She began to look more balanced.

    Finally, I checked the sphenoid position and the alignment of the sphenobasilar joint. The sphenobasilar joint is an articulation between the sphenoid and the occiput. If the sphenoid is shifted or immobile, it will either shift the occiput to accommodate its position or there will be a misalignment at the sphenobasilar joint. Because this client’s pain was in the suboccipital tissue, I believed that the occiput had shifted in response to the position of the sphenoid.


    Had there been a misalignment of the sphenobasilar joint, the pain would most likely have been in the middle of her head. Because I know that the sphenoid articulates with almost every bone in the head, I began by working with the other cranial bones, and finished by working with the sphenoid position. I used a combination of cranial sacral therapy and SMRT to release the connective tissues holding the sphenoid in an unnatural and immobile position. This allowed the sphenoid to naturally realign, which released the occiput, which allowed the suboccipital tissues to soften and balance.

    I could have simply used force to momentarily remove the tenderness from the suboccipital tissue. She may have felt more open when she left, but by working in other areas, specifically with her head, I was able to facilitate a correction of the cause of the suboccipital tenderness, which has more of a chance of lasting.

    Until this Friday, September 19, 2014, Full Circle’s SMRT: Head & Neck digital download, as well as SMRT: Head & Neck with SMRT Cranial Sacral Therapy digital download is 20% off. Use code sept20 for SMRT: Head & Neck or 20sept for SMRT: Head & Neck with Cranial Sacral Therapy.

    Please go to https://efullcircle.com/spontaneous-muscle-release-technique-head-neck/ for SMRT: Head & Neck or https://efullcircle.com/spontaneous-muscle-release-technique-head-neck-with-cranial-sacral/ for SMRT: Head & Neck with SMRT Cranial Sacral Therapy.