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Restoring muscle length with less effort


Neck and Shoulder

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Upper Trapezius

Side and Base of Neck - Levator Scapula

Levator Scapula

Rotating neck

Scalene Stretch

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Hidden Cause of Pain in the Neck & Restricted Range of Motion

Neck tightness and pain, Shoulder tension and Pain,
April 17, 2006
There is a way not only to relieve neck pain but also to increase your range of motion along with many other benefits. The Scalenes not only cause pain when tight, but restricts range of motion in the neck. Remember pain causes tightness (& vice versa) and tightness shortens muscles. If the cause of the tightness persists, this restriction could continue worsening over years, completely restricting neck movement and increasing pain. Doesn't this sound like the onset of old age? Because older individuals have had more years to accumulate this tension, it is generally more restrictive. But there is hope! You can do a lot on your own to help reverse this condition.
Today I will describe stretches for the side of the neck (Scalenes).

A quick solution to restoring the muscle length of course is a few treatments of trigger point therapy. But there is a way you can help restore your muscle length yourself right at home. You have to be diligent and develop a daily routine though. Not to worry it only takes a few minutes. It is as simple as two focused stretches on each side of the neck every morning.

Remember the muscles we are addressing are the Scalenes, running down the side of your neck and under the collarbone. It is important when we stretch that we move the part of our body attached to the muscle into the right angle so that the intended part of the muscle is being addressed. You will feel it when it is stretched. Remember to strtech only as far as it is comfortable - this id not meant to cause any pain at all.

The Scalenes have tree parts to it on each side of the neck. Posterior - slightly to the back, Mid - down the side and Anterior - slightly to the front.

To stretch the Posterior (back) Scalene

Neck tightness and pain, Shoulder tension and Pain,
1. Look straight ahead, tuck your chin in and pull you head back above your shoulder.
2. Drop your shoulders and tilt your head to one side (Left) - try to touch your shoulder with your ear.
3.Now hold you head with your (left) hand (elbow pointing straight to your left and just use the weight of your arm to hold this position for at least 20 seconds.
Important: Do not stretch past the point where you start to feel pain.

To stretch the Anterior (front)

Neck tightness and pain, Shoulder tension and Pain,
1. Look to your side (right).
2. Drop your shoulders.
3. Now tilt your head gently to the back and slightly to the side until you feel a gentle stretch on the side/front of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds and remember not to pass the pain point.
Now do the same on the other side.

TIP: This is even more effective when it is done in a hot shower.

If you develop a daily focused stretch routine, especially on the troubled areas, you will highly likely feel a noticeable improvement in your flexibility and range of motion over time. The next newsletter will describe the focused stretch of another group of important muscles. If you have a special interest in a particular group of muscles please feel free to drop me an email.

Other helpful stretch websites

Daily Stretches

Bob Anderson Stretches

Hand and Arm Stretches

Golf Stretches

Animal Stretches

Phone:  310-930-5884
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