Stiff Neck?

Levator Scapulae Muscle

ALT="levator scapulae" ALT="hurts between shoulders"

 

Are you experiencing a stiff neck? Does it hurt when you try to look over your shoulder? Do you have to rotate your body when you talk to someone? This means you have trigger points in your levator scapulae. This muscle along with the supraspinatus and infraspinatus cause more pain for the shoulder than any other.

The levator scapulae helps to rotate and elevate the scapula as well as rotate the neck to the same direction. It performs actions like shrugging or supporting weight on the shoulder like a heavy purse.

There are several ways you can get trigger points in the levator scapula. These include: typing while turning your head to the side to look at work, talking while looking at someone sitting by your side, walking with a cane that is too long, sitting in a chair with armrests that are too high, sleeping with the neck in a tilted position, swimming freestyle so you have to keep turning your head to the side to breath, or a car accident.

One other way this muscle can get tight is if there is some other muscular problem or imbalance throwing off the gait. The shoulders instinctively lift to help you walk. The levator scapulae is very susceptible when you are sick with an infection.

Ways to avoid or fix problems with the levator scapulae are turn to face the person you are talking to (not just the head), make sure you have the right prescription glasses so you are reading in focus, use speaker phone or a bluetooth rather than holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder.

Stretching this muscle is helpful especially under a warm shower. Move your nose towards your opposite armpit. Add pressure with your hand as needed.