Birth trauma causing vascular outflow obstruction

Hello all and thank you for the warm welcome Isaiah!

I would like to post my story here hoping it will help others while also getting your opinions on what I missed/ should look into.

I am a 25 year old male from the Netherlands. During my birth I was stuck at one shoulder while my heart rate dropped quickly. This meant they had to get me out asap so they used various tools on my head and neck with incredible force to pull me out.

Since then I’ve always had:

  1. Intense brain fog in my forehead
  2. When the pressure in my head gets very high I get a headache. About twice a week.
  3. Constant anxious / restless feeling. Like something bad is about to happen even though I know nothing bad will happen.

I always thought the above was normal and everybody had this feeling. Until a year ago, I got promoted to a management position but the increased pressure caused my head to fill quicker making it impossible to think because of the intense brain fog.

I layed down on my stomach on bed putting my head on my pillow. All of a sudden I felt my head draining and the brain fog going away…

My head also partly drains when laying on my back without a pillow.

I visited a doctor who mentioned my left SCM is huge but he didnt think that would cause these issues. I started to look at older pictures of me and noticed my left SCM has always been much bigger compared to the right. I did stretch exercises and acupuncture over the past year, this gives me partly relief for 30 mins but the SCM stays tight and big.

I do have ES but since I had these symptoms as a little child I don’t think thats causing it. Currently I believe its the big SCM pressing on the IJV and vagus.

Do people have an idea what may cause my left SCM to stay tight all the time? Some of my thoughts are: 1st rib out, shoulder injury or hyoid bone injury. Would also love to hear similar stories🙏🏼

I am flying to the US (Florida) to get a CTA/CTV next week which will be rendered in 3D. I have an appointment with an open-minded Dutch neurologist and I want to take the CTA/CTV with me.

Addes some imaging to this. Some friends noticed the long horn of my hyoid looks weird and the left SCM seems very wide.

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Ah, I can’t post images yet😄 Hopefully I can after some time/replies👍🏼 Will post them as soon as I can.

We have had a few members with SCM issues and it can cause compression, so that might be making symptoms worse for you… if you use the search function to look up SCM muscle compression etc it’ll come up with a few mentions. In this discussion @csainsworth mentions a hypertrophic SCM muscle like you have so it might be interesting:
Rare Fractured Styloid Process? Symptoms of dizziness, confusion, persistent agitation, weak arms, pain and something stuck in neck. Please help - General / Eagle Syndrome Stories - Living with Eagle
I think the fact that you get relief from exercises & acupuncture does indicate that the muscle is playing quite a big role in causing symptoms, it’s a shame that this treatment hasn’t had a linger lasting effect!

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Sorry, I forgot to say I agree about the hyoid bone process, that’s something else to explore as well!

The greater horn of your hyoid that I can see in the image is odd because it points upward instead of being in alignment with the rest of your hyoid. It also looks long though the image has shadows that make it difficult to tell for sure if the greater horn is elongated.

The trauma your neck muscles suffered during your delivery probably did rearrange your cervical spine & surrounding, supporting muscles and as you’ve grown to adulthood, the compensations the muscles have made to keep you functional have caused other problems which you’re now having to find solutions for.

Have you ever gone to physical therapy for your neck to work on helping to get your SCMs balanced? I’m not suggesting you do that now, but once you determine if you have IJV compression, & if so, get decompression surgery, it would be good to follow-up with PT for your SCMs.


A couple things to add…you have some interesting C1 anatomy.

  1. Looks like you’ve got an almost fully ossified Arcuate Foramen. I’ve got one too. Very few radiologists notice it or make a note of it because it’s considered a “normal” variant with about 8% of ppl (I disagree–i think it’s a protective adaptation). It’s wild they ignore it when someone is symptomatic because it is/can be associated with neck/should/upper back pain, headaches, migraines, dizziness, fainting etc. It can kind of trap the vertebral arteries, and compress them when you rotate your head. It has other names like ponticulus posticus. If you do a google image search and compare yours, you’ll see that yours is a little more elaborate. The upper bridge seems more pronounced than others. CTA/CTV with rotation would be important to rule out vertebral artery compression (called Bow Hunter’s Syndrome). My theory: this is the body’s response to hyper extension of the neck (which could have multiple causes).

More info:

  1. We have another thing in common. Your C1 looks laterally rotated/tilted, i.e. not level. See how the spinous processes of the lower vertebrae are very sharp but C1 isn’t as much. The background comes through, that would indicate it’s not flat/straight.

Sorry for the low quality pic, but that’s mine.

I would think that together with the enlarged and tight SCM it would indicate some cervical instability, but I’m not a doctor or radiologist (not that majority recognize these things :roll_eyes:) . I’d recommend doing a digital motion x-ray and having a doctor or chiro assess you for cervical instability to round out the picture. I too have chronically tight SCMs, occipital muscles and traps. They work overtime to protect that spinal cord and those blood vessels! The tightness is worse on the side where I have more C1-C2 overhang.

Getting instant relief when you lie down might indicate CSF leak or that the head position facilitates immediately better blood flow.

I’d caution against releasing the SCM too often/too much without treating and balancing the strength of your neck holistically, it might make symptoms worse. On numerous occasions my symptoms got worse after massages or trigger point or self-release…but I can be a little over-aggressive.

Have a nice trip :sun_with_face:


Interesting that you noted this @domino. When I looked at the images @IvdM posted, I noticed the lordotic curve of his cervical spine looks more extreme than I usually see in images posted on this forum. That could be due to hyper extension.

Or he has a healthy curve and the rest of us have all have military necks lol @Isaiah_40_31. But weakened anterior cervical ligament might also drive the SCM to overcompensate.

I think I’ve been hyperextending my neck (automatically lift my chin) to maintain my airway due to Eagles. So many chicken-or-egg variable with this stuff!


Hey @domino , your interpretation of scans is fascinating. I wondered if you could check out my scan to see what you think with my fractured styloid. I’d be super grateful!

I think all of us are suffering from similar symptoms. Truly hope we can all get the relief that is so desired.