Category: Neck Stretches

Entegra Health | Remedial Massage Melbourne

Levator Scapulae Stretch

Where Are the Levator Scapulae Muscles?

Levator Scapulae Stretch

A common area requiring Remedial Massage treatment at Entegra Health Parkville, is the Levator Scapulae muscles. The Levator Scapulae muscles are located behind and to the side of the neck, adjacent to the Scalene muscles, and deep to the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and Upper Trapezius muscles. The Levator Scapulae muscles originate at cervical spine vertebrae 1-4 (C1-4), and attach superiorly at the top of the scapulae; also known as the ‘Spine of Scapula’.

What is their function?

The name ‘Levator Scapulae’ is derived from Latin meaning to ‘lift the Scapula’ and is primarily  involved in actions requiring lifting and rotation of the scapula/shoulder. The Levator Scapulae also works in conjunction with the Pectoral and Rhomboid muscles to support these actions.

Collectively, the Levator Scapulae functions in association with the SCM, Scalene, Upper Trapezius and Splenius Capitis muscles located around and behind the neck and skull, to support extension, flexion and turning movements of the neck; elevation of the ribs during respiration, and extension and rotation movements of the arms and shoulders/scapula.

What tension related problems can occur here?

Tension commonly associated with the Levator Scapula and neighbouring muscles of the Upper Thoracic region, including: the Scalene, SCM and Upper Trapezius neck muscles can contribute to tension headaches and migraines, due to the attachment site of the Upper Trapezius muscles located at the base of the skull; the Levator Scapulae and Scalene muscle attachments at the cervical spine (vertebrae of the neck).

Specifically, Cervicogenic headaches resulting from tension in the SCM and Levator Scapula muscles may also occur. In addition, Levator Scapula Syndrome is a condition involving irritation and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the scapula and shoulder region. The cause of this condition is often through repetitive or over-use actions.

Tension within the surrounding muscles of the spinous processes of the neck can also contribute to nerve related conditions, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Common symptoms that may be attributed to TOS can include: tingling and/or numbness in the hands or fingers, reduced range of movement and/or frozen shoulder conditions, due to nerve impingement by surrounding shoulder structures. These conditions may also reduce circulation within the arms, hands and fingers.

Tension commonly associated with nearby SCM muscles may also be experienced in association with the Tempero Mandibular Jaw (TMJ) muscles, both internal and external, and muscles attached to the base of the skull (Occipital band).

How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in This Area?

At Entegra Health Parkville, tension related to the Levator Scapula muscles are often observed to be the result of over extension, or overuse of these muscles in a lowered, or forward head position. Tension in these areas may also be associated with weak muscles. Common upper thoracic postural compensation patterns are often related to a desk based position or, most sitting positions for prolonged periods.

The following self management options are recommended to effectively reduce muscular tension and increase stability between Remedial Massage treatments:

Stretches | Levator Scapulae Stretch

Stretches to lengthen the back and sides of the neck, and between the shoulder blades can greatly assist in the reduction of tension in the Levator Scapulae and surrounding muscles. For example, ear to shoulder stretches, shoulder roll stretches, and stretches to release the SCM and nearby neck muscles. Regular Remedial Massage is also an effective way to support muscular tension and stress levels, where possible. Foam rolling of the upper thoracic area may also significantly reduce tension and therefore provide muscular relief.

Strengthening | Levator Scapulae Stretch

Strengthening of the rhomboid muscles may also prevent fatigue and over-stretching of the upper thoracic/back area and consequently support the muscles surrounding the neck, including the Levator Scapulae. Stretches to reduce tension in the Pectoral muscles in the front of the chest may also reduce tension in the upper back and neck.

Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can be found on our website.

info@entegrahealth.com.au

Entegra Health
Levator Scapulae Stretch
Remedial Massage Melbourne

Sternocleidomastoid Neck Stretch

Where Are the Sternocleidomastoid Muscles? | Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

At Entegra Health, Parkville, we often treat muscular tension associated with the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles. The SCM are a thick band of muscles located either side of the neck, directly behind the ears and mandibles (jaws). During development in utero, the SCM muscles originally form part of the upper trapezius muscles, which later divide into two separate muscle groups. As a result, the SCM muscles are positioned in front of the scalene and upper trapezius muscles; attached superiorly behind the jaw, and inferiorly to the clavicle (collar bone) above the sternum – central to the rib cage.

What is their function?

The SCM muscles are one of the primary muscles involved with rotation movements of the skull, and extension and flexion movements of the neck. An example of the SCM muscles in use include turning your head to perform a head check whilst driving, or looking for cars whilst crossing the road; the SCM muscles are actively engaged many times throughout daily tasks.

Furthermore, as the SCM muscles laterally attach the sides of the neck to the skull, they also support overall movement and stabilization of the neck and head; in conjunction with the scalene muscles. Together, the SCM and scalene muscles also support rib cage function during respiration, and bending and tilting movements of the neck.

What tension related problems can occur here?

At Entegra Health Parkville, tension commonly observed during Remedial Massage consultations relating to the SCM muscles, are often associated with nearby lateral supportive muscular structures of the neck and consequently tension; including the Temporo Mandibular Jaw (TMJ) area, Scalenes, Upper Trapezius muscles and the base of the skull (Occipital muscles).

Tension commonly occurring in these areas may result in increased tension headaches, migraines and jaw tension, resulting in clicking and mis-alignment of the upper and lower jaws. Another common dysfunction of the SCM muscles may include Torticollis; a condition which occurs when one side of the head is tilted due to uneven tension in one side of the SCM muscles. This condition may be present from birth, or occur over time.

Tension surrounding the spinous processes of the neck and the SCM may also contribute to nerve related conditions, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Common symptoms that may be attributed to TOS may include: tingling and/or numbness in the hands or fingers, reduced range of movement and/or frozen shoulder conditions due to nerve impingement by surrounding shoulder structures and reduced blood circulation.

How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in These Areas? | Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

Stretches to lengthen the sides and front of the neck (lateral and anterior), can significantly assist in the reduction of tension in the SCM muscles. For example, ear to shoulder stretches, chin raise stretches and shoulder rolls.

Conditions such as Torticollis may also benefit from stretches to initially release tension in tight SCM muscles, followed by strengthening exercises to increase stabilization to support weak SCM and surrounding neck muscles. Regular Remedial Massage in conjunction with strengthening exercises, is also an effective way to support muscular tension and associated stress levels.

Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or other treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise videos can be found on our website.

info@entegrahealth.com.au
Sternocleidomastoid Stretch
Remedial Massage Melbourne
Entegra Health

Upper Traps Stretch

Remedial Massage Melbourne
Scalene and Trapezius Muscle Tension

Where Are the Scalene and Upper Trapezius Muscles?

Upper Traps Stretch

We commonly treat muscular tension and dysfunction in the upper thoracic, neck and shoulder area. The Scalene and Upper Trapezius muscles are located either side, and behind the neck, respectively. The Trapezius system is a complex muscle group comprising three sections: Upper; Middle and Lower Trapezius muscles. Collectively, the Trapezius muscles extend from the base of the skull (occipital band), extending in a diamond shape through to the mid-thoracic (upper back) and fanning out, attaching to the scapula (shoulder blade).

The Scalene muscles comprise three pairs of muscle groups: Anterior (front); Middle and Posterior (behind). The Scalene muscles are located either side of the neck, behind the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles; concerned with turning movements of the neck and head.

What are their functions?

The Upper Trapezius muscles are primarily responsible for supporting the weight of the arms, and also connect the neck to the skull. As such, they also support movement and stabilization of the neck and head. The Mid-Trapezius muscles support the scapula (shoulder). The primary functions of the Middle Trapezius muscles include supporting the arms, by assisting in rotating and lifting the scapula; e.g. when reaching the arms to the side or overhead. An example of the Upper and Middle Trapezius muscles in use, includes shrugging the shoulders, or reaching to pick-up up something with your hand.

The primary functions of the Scalene muscles include supporting the respiratory system (breathing) by assisting to elevate the ribs, in conjunction with the SCM muscles. The Scalene muscles also support the neck, and consequently, actions requiring bending and tilting movements of the neck.

What tension related problems can occur here?

Muscular tension commonly treated at Entegra Health Parkville, associated with the Scalene and Upper Trapezius neck muscles, includes tension headaches and migraines. This is often due postural compensation patterns (prolonged sitting or desk based), and/or weak muscles experiencing fatigue from prolonged periods of use, over-use or immobility. Referral pain is often experienced in associated with the attachments of the Upper Trapezius muscles located at the base of the skull; and the Scalene attachments at the cervical spine (vertebrae of the neck).

Muscular tension surrounding the spinous processes of the neck can contribute to nerve related conditions, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Common symptoms that may be attributed to TOS can include: tingling and/or numbness in the hands or fingers, reduced range of movement and/or frozen shoulder conditions, due to nerve impingement by surrounding shoulder structures. These conditions may also reduce circulation within the arms, hands and fingers.

How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in These Areas? | Upper Traps Stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, we recommend a variety of treatment options to assist in the effective reduction of muscular tension. In conjunction with regular Remedial Massage therapy, stretches are often advised to lengthen the back and sides of the neck, and between the shoulder blades to assist in the reduction of tension in the Upper Trapezius and Scalene muscles. For example, ear to shoulder stretches and shoulder roll stretches. Foam rolling of the upper thoracic area may also significantly reduce tension and therefore provide muscular relief in the Upper Trapezius muscles.

Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.

info@entegrahealth.com.au
Entegra Health
Upper Traps Stretch
Massage Melbourne