Today we’re going over how to examine your own sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle and how to tell if your SCM may be causing issues. Refer back to blog here on why the SCM can cause so many problems and what a problematic SCM muscle manifests as.
Look at yourself in the mirror and note if your head is tilted or rotated to one side or the other. You may also notice a rotated/tilted head if you observe imbalances showing up consistently in pictures taken of yourself.
Why? Your SCM runs diagonally along your neck from right behind your ear to your collarbone. When the SCM is tight, it pulls your head to the same side as the tight muscle and rotates your head to the opposite side as the tight muscle. For example, if your right SCM is tight, it will pull your head laterally to the right and rotate your head to the left.
You can also assess your SCM by actually touching it. Start by feeling right behind your ear and following it down to where it attaches at your collarbone and sternum. Notice if the SCM feels different, comparing left to right, or feels more tender in certain spots.
As discussed before, the SCM can refer pain to the head, neck, and even behind the eye. Note if your pain is able to be reproduced by touching along your own SCM.
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