Sternocleidomastoid And Chronic Headaches

Sternocleidomastoid
Sternocleidomastoid

Maybe one of the most common conditions I have treated throughout my career has been headaches and migraines. I am not talking just simple once-in-a-while stress headaches (even though those do benefit from massage as well), but chronic, ongoing, life-disrupting headaches and migraines. I have had many clients who come in for their first session who suffer frequently (if not daily) from chronic headaches who have tried many different options for treatment, including strong medications to alleviate their pain, with no positive results. Unfortunately,  it often seems like finding a cure for chronic headaches and migraines is like taking a stab in the dark, hoping to find a cure. Continue reading “Sternocleidomastoid And Chronic Headaches”

Stretching Series: Longus Colli

Longus Colli

Whenever you have any sort of upper cross syndrome or forward head posture, longus colli is going to be tight. Maybe more importantly though, is how involved this muscle can be with disc injuries (along with scalenes and sternocleidomastoid). By stretching this muscle correctly we can aid in chronic posture issues as well as potentially aid in disc injury symptoms. (to learn more about disc injuries, read Massage Therapy for Disc Injuries)

The keys to stretching this muscle are more in the form that we use than the complexity of motion. Continue reading “Stretching Series: Longus Colli”

Stetching Series: Levator Scapulae

 

Levator Scapulae
Levator Scapulae

Levator Scapulae is one of those muscles that can be over worked and become hypertonic when posture or stress is an issue. Its function is to elevate the scapula which (along with trapezius) can become over active and create soreness and pain in the cervicothoracic junction. Obvious a great one to stretch for maintenance of neck and shoulder discomfort.

The key to stretching this muscle is involving the scapula’s ability to rotate  with shoulder movement. Continue reading “Stetching Series: Levator Scapulae”

Stretching Series: Sternocleidomastoid

Sternocleidomastoid

This muscle is one of those which is probably either on your top 5 treatment list or on your “I hate this muscle” treatment list. Either way, it is very important clinically to know how to stretch this muscle. It is involved in many conditions including upper cross syndrome, forward head posture, disc injuries, and, last but not least, headaches and migraines. Also, because of its unique anatomy, it has the capability limiting multiple motions of the neck which can limit the general mobility of the cervical spine.   If we can learn to stretch this muscle we can help fight all of these conditions. Continue reading “Stretching Series: Sternocleidomastoid”

Stretching Series: Scalenes

Scalene Muscles

The Scalenes are an incredibly important for a multitude of reasons. They are involved in many different issues involving the cervical spine including upper cross syndrome, improper breathing, cervical disc injuries, and nerve entrapments which affect the arms and hands. Obviously, they are important to know how to stretch correctly.

It is important to know two key facts for these muscles. The first is knowing that they insert into the ribs so we can use the movement of the ribs to help increase the stretch. The second is that there are three of these muscles which all track in different angles. So, in order to stretch all of them, we will need to use slight variations throughout our stretch focus on these angles. Continue reading “Stretching Series: Scalenes”

Stretching Series: Suboccipitals

Suboccipitals

The Suboccipital muscle group is one of great importance.  When these are hypertonic it is usually because of postural reasons. They are usually not just tight but in a  chronically shortened state which locks down the upper cervical region. They are very much connected to chronic headaches and migraines. Also, when shortened down, they will limit the amount of cervical rotation which is possible. Continue reading “Stretching Series: Suboccipitals”