The neck: stretch levator scapula

When people think about their neck pain or neck tension, they first think about the ‘traps’. This is the trapezius muscle, which goes from the bump at the back of your head, to the edge of your shoulder, to the 12th thoracic vertebra. It is often overworked, but the culprit is as often as not, a muscle called levator scapula. It lifts the scapula, or shoulder blade.
I recommend people who have headaches stretch the levator scapula muscle after some self-massage or professional massage, when the tissues are warmed up. Gently turn your head to the opposite armpit, and if you feel a stretch in the back of your neck, you’ve found it! Repeat frequently. You can hold it from 10 seconds to 60 seconds, whatever your body tells you to do, but there should be absolutely no pain. If you feel pain, you have taken the stretch beyond therapeutic value and are re-injuring the muscle fibres. Go gently and enjoy the stretch. This is a quick and easy stretch to do at work.


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