Want to stop that neck and shoulder pain?
Have you ever sought massage to alleviate neck or shoulder pain? You’re not alone. Just like that pain that lies under or between our shoulder blades, we suffer this pain as a direct result of how we hold our heads when we’re working with electronic devices. Let’s talk about three of these muscles in detail.
The first is levator scapula. It sounds like a Harry Potter spell, and it does almost exactly what it sounds like: It raises the scapula, also known as your shoulder blade. This muscle originates at the first and second cervical (neck) vertebrae and ends at what we call the superior angle of the scapula — the tip at the top of the scapula that lies closest to your spine. When we hunch our shoulders, as we are prone to do when looking especially at a phone (also, perhaps sleeping in a foreign bed or with a bad pillow), we contract this muscle and create constant tension. The good news is, I have some effective stretches and strokes for creating looseness in this muscle. Ask me for more information!
The scalenes (there are three of them) lie on the sides of your neck and do three major things:
They help bend the neck from side to side;
They help, in small measure, to facilitate breathing; and
They lift the first rib, just below the clavicle (collarbone).
Let’s talk about that last one for a minute. When we hunch our shoulders, we lift that first rib, don’t we? That means these scalenes are doing a lot of work when we’re texting or otherwise working on our electronics. Side-to-side stretches — letting our neck hang with our ear toward our shoulder on each side — provide some effective relief. Massage also can help with this stress.
The last muscle we’re going to discuss today is the upper trapezius. As its name indicates, it’s merely the upper portion of the trapezius (pictured above), a large muscle named for its trapezoidal shape that extends from the neck, across the top part of the shoulder blade, and down to the middle of your back. It’s the meaty muscle closest to the surface of your shoulder area. Tension here creates a lot of pain and pressure. Again, the good news is that this can be relieved by massage and stretching.
If you ever have questions about these or any of the muscles we’ve discussed (or have yet to discuss), please call or text 720-432-8664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well, healthy and whole,