What is the sternocleidomastoid
What to do when it hurts
What are the main causes of this condition
What are the most common symptoms
What we should do in these cases
The sternocleidomastoid , in addition to being a very difficult word to pronounce, is a part of our body, or rather, and a muscle. If you are looking for information on the pain that can affect this part you are in the right place because today we will deal with precisely this topic.

What is the sternocleidomastoid
Before we go to deal with pain in the sternocleidomastoid,it is necessary to understand well what this muscle is and above all what its main functions are.
The sternocleidomastoid, also known as sternocleidoccipitomastoid, and therefore a muscle that is found in the anterolateral region of the neck and originates from the clavicular head and the sternal head, hence its name.
These two heads, namely the clavicular and the sternal one, are inserted, through a tendon, into the mastoid process, that is, in the most protruding part of our skull.
Thanks to this muscle we can tilt and flex the head, making it rotate on the opposite side. Even though the name of this muscle is so complicated, therefore, its functioning is very simple.
Unfortunately, as happens for most of the muscles found in our body, even the sternocleidomastoid can be subject to more or less intense pain, let’s see which are, therefore, the main causes of this disorder in the next paragraph.

From what can be caused the pain in the sternocleidomastoid
Since the sternocleidomastoid is a muscle practically in continuous movement, because we move our head to do anything, consequently the risk of it becoming inflamed or that, in any case, it can cause pain is very high.
For the same reason, ie due to its high activity, it is rather difficult to always find the specific cause of pain in the sternocleidomastoid. However, we can say that among the most common causes we find the following:

  • The fact of frequently assuming a wrong posture, for example if we do an office job and we do not sit correctly, can determine the appearance of pain in the sternocleidomastoid, especially if these wrong positions are maintained for some time;
  • Even the position we usually assume while we sleep, ie during the night, if wrong, can have a negative effect on the sternocleidomastoid, causing pain even when we are still;
  • Any trauma, even childhood trauma, such as trauma to the neck during birth could cause pain in the sternocleidomastoid , especially in the past when obstetrics techniques were still to be perfected. As for adulthood, a trauma to the neck, such as the famous whiplash, typical of road accidents, can lead to this condition;
  • Some sports activities, especially those such as climbing , strain the sternocleidomastoid, with the possibility that it becomes inflamed and therefore causes pain.

What are the symptoms of pain in the sternocleidomastoid
Intuitively, the symptoms that occur in the case of pain in the sternocleidomastoid can also vary according to the cause that led to the appearance of this disorder. However we can say that the most frequent symptoms are those mentioned below:

  • Migraines and headaches, caused by the continuous tension of the muscle;
  • Eye problems, such as droopy eyelids, red eyes, and excessive tearing
  • Hearing loss
  • Atypical facial neuralgia;
  • Vertigo and a feeling of unsteadiness;
  • Pain in the upper chest region
  • Excessive sweating in the forehead
  • Stiff neck;
  • Visual disturbances.

Obviously, however, the symptom par excellence of this condition is precisely the pain that is felt behind the neck, exactly where the sternocleidomastoid is located.

What should we do in case of sternocleidomastoid pain
If the sternocleidomastoid pain persists and becomes more and more unbearable, it would be advisable to contact the family doctor and go to his clinic to undergo a check-up.
Before prescribing any type of treatment, the doctor will certainly do all the necessary tests to understand if it is a muscle problem or more serious problems, for example at the nervous and / or blood level.
In case sternocleidomastoid painhas appeared following a trauma, for example after a fall or after a car accident, we will certainly be subjected to an MRI or X-rays to make an effective assessment of the state of the bones.
The magnetic resonance, in these cases, is useful not only to exclude the possibility of a fracture to the bones (for example to the collarbone or the sternum), but also to make an assessment of the state of the ligaments found in this area.
However, before moving on to functional imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance or X-rays, the doctor will go to palpate the painful area to make an initial evaluation and carefully observe the patient’s postural habits to understand if it is a problem related to they or not.

What are the treatments planned to solve this problem
? Based on the diagnosis, the doctor will indicate the most suitable treatment for you. In principle, the treatments that are put into practice to solve the problem of sternocleidomastoid pain are the following:

  • The massage which, even if it can be very painful, helps to significantly reduce the pain;
  • Corrective actions , for example correcting the posture we usually assume or, in any case, avoiding overloading the shoulder;
  • The use of special gels which, if massaged into the painful area, help reduce the pain of the sternocleidomastoid;
  • Special stretching exercises;
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (so-called NSAIDs) helps relieve inflammation and, therefore, pain as well;
  • Physiotherapy sessions.

Intuitively, to solve the problem of sternocleidomastoid pain you must remember to follow in detail all the advice that the doctor will give you and you absolutely must not resort to do-it-yourself treatments as you could worsen the situation in an attempt to improve it.

How we can prevent sternocleidomastoid pain
Finally, we can also take some small steps to prevent this annoying ailment. Among these measures we remember above all those mentioned below:

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach with the cervical spine in rotation;
  • Try to change position throughout the day, never maintain the same position for too long, whether sitting or standing;
  • When sitting, try to keep your back straight ;
  • Remember to do a good warm-up before practicing any type of physical activity, especially those in which the sternocleidomastoid is involved;
  • Remember to always rely on professionals in the sector to solve problems affecting the sternocleidomastoid.

If you follow all these tips step by step, we can assure you that the risk of experiencing pain will be significantly reduced.
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