Stiff Painful Neck Muscles

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 Levator Scapula

Stiff Painful Franken-Neck? 

Fix the “Frozen Neck Muscle”  

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It’s a common experience … You wake up in the morning after a harmless night’s sleep, only to find that your neck is frozen in pain, preventing you from turning your head side to side.

Most of us spend the next several days to weeks walking around like Frankenstein with our heads pointing in the direction our torso is facing!  Even turning the head slightly is punished with pain and muscle spasm in the neck and shoulders.

Remarkably, there is little relief from most things we try and there is frustratingly little most professionals can do for us.  In this issue of Muscle News, we will show you the solution!

The following Frozen Neck Remedy may not only cut your recovery time down from weeks to hours, but also help you to become really good at correcting your own myofascial dysfunction.

The “Frozen Neck Muscle” you are going to be primarily treating is called the Levator Scapularis.  Here is this muscle’s referred pain pattern:

Levator Scapularis

As you can see, the Levator Scapularis (which means “lifter of the shoulder blade”) grabs on to the top of the shoulder blade at one end and the side of the upper neck at the other end.

When it contracts, it pulls the neck down to the shoulder and the shoulder up to meet the neck.  But when it is “frozen”, it stiffens like a rod and prevents either the neck or shoulder from moving freely.

The X’s mark where the main trigger points commonly develop.  The referred pain (red area) is all through the neck and top of the shoulders, trickling down the edge of the shoulder blade and back of the shoulder. The spot at the upper angle of the shoulder blade with the big “X” is especially painful and very important to treat.

You will be treating the whole length of the Levator Scapularis and referred pain area from the top and back of the shoulder up to the base of the skull.

The CRITICAL KEY TO SUCCESS is treating the muscle ON THE STRETCH, as shown below! 

Follow the tests and self-care instructions below, and be sure to pass this information along to others you care about!

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

Tips on Shedding the Stiff Neck Blues – Stick to It!

Before we get started, please note that Frozen Neck / “Franken-Neck” is known to be stubborn about letting go.  Many healthcare professionals just accept that it has to run it’s course and there isn’t much they can do … NOT SO! 

The following technique really works, and it’s simple!  The key to success is to be persistent until it’s fixed … and make sure you perform the compression with the muscle ON THE STRETCH!  Let’s get started!

3 Tests:  How Do You Know You Have a “Frozen” Levator Scapula?

Simply put, you will not be able to turn or bend your head.  Here are the three tests you must be able to pass by the end of your self-care:

 

1 Full Rotation            2 Chin to Armpit

   3 Ear to Scapula

1.)  Turn your head until it reaches 90 degrees rotation so that your chin is over your shoulder.

2.)  Tuck your chin to your chest and turn toward the arm pit.  You should be able to touch your chest with your chin tucked and rotated.

3.)  Extend your head back and to the side over your shoulder.  You should be able to tilt back and to the side without pain or muscle spasm.

You will perform these 3 tests as you are treating to determine when you have successfully corrected your Frozen Neck!  When you can achieve all 3 positions fully without pain, you are done!  


Frozen Neck Remedy: Self-Care for the Levator Scapula

Now, let’s correct the trigger points in 3 easy steps!

STEP 1:  MOIST HEAT 

Use a moist heat pack on the neck and shoulders, stand under the shower or soak in a hot bath for 10 – 15 minutes to loosen up the muscles fibers and other fascia.

STEP 2:  COMPRESSION: 

Cover the entire region from the top of the shoulders up to the base of the skull:

Instructions:  Use a Backnobber to press into each trigger point to tolerance for 2-3 full breaths.  

STEP 3:  Repeat the 3 Positions

After several minutes of treatment, try the 3 positions again to see if you have unfrozen your neck yet.  If there is still spasm and pain in any of the positions, then go back to treating some more.  If 30 – 45 minutes passes without much success, give it a rest for a while and finish with some heat again.  

Naturally, if you aren’t having success, seek help from a professional.  Otherwise, in most cases, you will loosen up your neck within a short time.  The sooner you begin the self-care after the onset of symptoms, the quicker resolution usually is.

Pass along this Frozen Neck Remedy to impress and help anyone who suffers from a sudden Franken-Neck attack!

Happy Self-Care!

 

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