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”

Shoulder Blade Pain…Everyone’s Bane

I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen a client and the first thing they say to me is “can you work on my shoulder blades or wings…or whatever they are called?” I don’t know about you but if I had wings back there I would be pretty excited. Also, I don’t remember being trained in wing massage….hmmm. All kidding aside, the upper thoracic and scapular region do get a lot of attention from massage therapist because it is a source or a great deal of discomfort for many clients. This area affects just about every human it seems (which is a lot of people) especially anyone who tends to spend a lot of time in front of a computer. It is also an area where we tend to gather tension related to stress which adds to the discomfort. Combine all of these factors and it is definitely an area most people are going to want work done on.

I would like to take this common treatment area and open up the reasons why it is such a prominent area of pain. I would also like to delve a bit deeper and see if we can figure out why so many people have, not only soreness here, but many times ongoing acute and chronic pain. What is that  “burning” and “aching” feeling that is described to us therapists so often? Also, why does it always seem to come back even after treating it? Hopefully, I can answer those questions and give you a better knowledge of how to treat what seems to be everyone’s bane. Continue reading “Shoulder Blade Pain…Everyone’s Bane”