Levator Scapulae Muscle :Why It May Cause Pain Or Discomfort And Tips To Ease Pain

Levator Scapulae Muscle :Why It May Cause Pain Or Discomfort And Tips To Ease Pain

Levator Scapulae Muscle

The Levator scapulae usually called lev scap is a muscle that often causes pain, discomfort, and dysfunction in the upper body. It can create pain and dysfunction associated with the shoulder, but it can also create pain and significant dysfunction associated with the cervical spine (neck area), we often see headaches significantly associated with this muscle.

Frequent symptoms of this muscle include:

-chronic tightness creating a strong pulling sensation, the muscle to become overactivated and shortened

– neck pain which could extend to the head causing a headache  

– pain and restricted range of motion in neck or shoulders

– deep, aching pain

– referring pain in neck and shoulder area

 increase in muscle tone and trigger points

These symptoms effect the scapula’s position and the movements of your cervical spine, this is due to where the muscles attachment sites are as the muscle originates from the cervical spine (neck) and inserts into the medial border of the scapula ( shoulder blade) .

One of the muscles roles is to keep your shoulder blade in an optimal position that supports an upright alignment of your neck and head. Also attempts to avoid postures including forward head posture, which is when your head is in a poor neck posture positioning your head to far forward.

Myofascial trigger points (muscle knot, or a feeling of pain/ restriction in muscle belly) occur frequently in the lev scap muscle. When the trigger points are active this can create stiffness in the neck, and rotation to the same side will be painful due to the muscle contracting.

Common movements/ factors that aggravate and can cause the lev scap discomfort includes:

          Carrying a bag on your shoulder for extended periods

          Sleeping with the muscle in a shortened position / sleeping in awkward straining positions for the neck muscles

          Movements involved in performing a sport

          Continual head/ neck movements at work particularly office workers

          Poor posture

          stress

We see the lev scap muscle being one of the most common muscles that is causing neck and shoulder pain and dysfunction. Getting some treatment on this muscle as well as associated muscles can help reduce the muscular tension/ stress on this muscle and some simple things we can do to stop this muscle from continual discomfort includes :

          Regular stretching and the correct stretches that will stretch the lev scap muscle effectively

          Appropriate strengthening exercises

          Postural correction exercises and awareness

These are simple things we can integrate into our daily life to increase our physical function of our upper body and our niggling neck aches and pains.

 

IS YOUR PILLOW CAUSING YOU HEADACHES?

IS YOUR PILLOW CAUSING YOU HEADACHES?

Are you suffering from restless sleep?  Finding it difficult to fall asleep due to discomfort?  Or are you waking with a headache and stiff neck that stays with you all day?

 

Then maybe it’s time for a new pillow!

 

Just like proper footwear is a recommendation to correct incorrect ankle and lower limb alignment, correct pillows and pillow height are necessary to assist in decreasing/managing neck and shoulder pain or stiffness.

 

I personally have found that when a patient is experiencing pain or discomfort when they wake up – particularly the upper body region- how they are positioned during their sleep is a major contributor.

 

When we lie down to sleep the one thing we look for is what’s called a neutral spine.  Your pillow and mattress are vital in achieving this, but let’s concentrate on the Pillow for now.

 

Here’s a quick tip!

 

When lying on your pillow in any which way, you don’t want the pillow to be too high that it causes your neck to be on stretch (which can sometimes be excessive) and alternatively, you don’t want the pillow to be too low either.  Too low causes one side of the neck region to “squash” and also our shoulder will roll in (which is another kettle of fish altogether for another blog).  Some people will also find the need to ‘bunch up’ their pillow underneath them to create more height and end up sleeping with their arm or hand underneath their head.  This is where symptoms start to creep down to the arm and hands.

Now if you’re sitting there nodding your head and thinking to yourself, yes that’s me!  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a brand new expensive pillow, the pillow you have may be right but your posture may just need fine tuning.  However, having a pillow at the correct height can take all the hard work out of retraining the posture.

 

Not sure where to start with your pillow?

Fear not!  The practitioners at MyoSports offer a complimentary pillow assessment to help check over the pillow you have and also point you in the right direction with options that may be more suited for you and achieve that neutral spine.

 

Don’t suffer one more night of restless sleep, let us know how we can help you get the sleep you’ve been searching for.

Kayaking for your health

Kayaking for your health

With lock down of the gyms making it harder to exercise and running being a high impact sport, cycling can be the obvious answer for getting in that cardiovascular exercise, but some people aren’t keen to be out on the roads riding near cars, so another option is kayaking!

Kayaking improves your cardio fitness and is a great strength exercise for arms, shoulders, back and core. With proper technique, kayaking even works leg muscles through leg drive by rotation of the trunk, applying pressure with the feet off the kick board. Your core muscles -also known as your abs- are in constant use while you’re kayaking, helping balance the kayak upright and this is why kayaking is one of the best exercises to strengthen your abs. 

Like any physical activity, kayaking helps with weight loss and once you’re on the water it won’t feel like exercise as you’re cruising through the water reducing your stress levels! Using your muscles to cut through the water out in nature is a very rewarding experience and after a few hours each week, you’ll quickly notice a drop in your stress levels.

Kayaking is easy to pick up, with the right type of kayak for your level of experience, you can jump straight into the sport. All you need is a kayak, a paddle and a life jacket to enjoy some great impact free exercise!

Elbow Pain: 2 Common Conditions and How to fix them

Elbow Pain: 2 Common Conditions and How to fix them

Elbow Pain: 2 Common Conditions and How to fix them

Are you a tradie on the good old shovel all day long or forever carrying heavy objects and doing repetitive jobs onsite? Maybe you’re a keen golfer and play most weeks, maybe more at the moment being limited to this during Iso? Or maybe you’re a keyboard warrior and have increased this lately due to iso as well?  Whatever your job description, all of the above can cause some seriously sore elbows! There are two common conditions of the elbow that occur due to repetitive strain, these being tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

Tennis Elbow vs. Golfer’s Elbow

Probably more common than Golfer’s elbow- tennis elbow, despite the name it is not often caused by tennis these days. It is a condition of the tendon on the outside of the elbow, technically called lateral tendinopathy or lateral tendinitis. Lateral just means to the outer side and tendinopathy is a condition or pathology of the tendon. The tendon becomes inflamed and will be called tendonitis, or longer standing pain where the fibres start to become damaged is called tendinosis. The common wrist extensor muscles attach to this tendon, so bending the wrist up towards yourself if the palm is facing the floor, is the main action here. Small intricate movements of the fingers are also part of these muscles action. The pain is usually found on the top of the elbow on the bony part, called the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, which you can feel sitting just underneath the skin. It may travel down into the forearm, even sometimes right to the wrist and less commonly to the fingers. It can be present when trying to grip, twist and lift things often causing weakness.

Golfer’s elbow is the same, just on the inner side of the elbow- technically called medial tendinopathy or tendinitis. The common wrist flexor muscles attach to this tendon, their action is bending the wrist to the floor if the palm was facing the floor. Small intricate movements of the fingers are also part of these muscles action. The pain is similar to tennis elbow just on the opposite side of the arm- usually over that bony prominence on the inside and can travel down into the under side of the forearm. It can be present when trying to grip, twist and lift things often causing weakness also, as well as numbness & tingling occasionally into the ring and little fingers.

Tennis Elbow Causes

Repetitive strain is the answer. For tennis elbow it is usually the repetitive use of a keyboard most often for the office worker, the repetitive use of tools and lifting, shovelling, gripping and twisting for the tradie and for the tennis player, well it is the repetitive shock travelling through the arm when a tennis ball is struck while gripping onto that racket. Alas, these are not the only occupations or activities to cause tennis elbow.

Golfer’s elbow is usually caused by you guessed it, GOLF! Also repetitive gripping, twisting and shock that is transferred into the arm, it is much like it’s counterpart, tennis elbow. Tennis elbow tends to be a bit more common than golfer’s elbow.

So how do we resolve it you ask? REST my friends, rest. Most of us just can’t stop what we are doing and go on a nice holiday to relax (especially not right now) so there are other things we can do. Try to offload the arm and rest it where practical for you. This means maybe delegating some of the jobs you really struggle to do because the pain is so bad, if you can. Otherwise taking regular breaks and stretching out the muscles of the forearm where you can. Heat and ice can prove very handy over where the tendon attaches to the bone. A brace is often helpful in the beginning to assist with reducing pain.

These conditions are often stubborn and usually related to your line of work, meaning they take a fair amount of time and effort to get on top of. They usually require expert help to get on top of the pain in the beginning and form a rehab plan to get you back on track. Here at MyoSports we treat these conditions all the time, so if this sounds like you, pop on in to get you back to work and doing what you enjoy as fast as possible.

Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

There is often a lot of questions and confusion about the differences between dry needling and acupuncture. Dry needling is an evidence-based technique applied by physical therapists that releases myofascial trigger points and muscular tightness. Dry needling is similar regarding the needle is inserted into the skin to alleviate pain. However, acupuncture treats for the purpose of altering the flow of Qi (Energy) along traditional Chinese meridians. Physical therapists use dry needling with the purposes of addressing neuromuscular conditions, the relief of pain/ muscular tightness, and improving range of motion.

What is a myofascial trigger point?

A myofascial trigger point also known as a knot within the muscle is a bundle of muscle fibres that have shortened when activated but have not been able to lengthen back to a relaxed state after use. (Simons, Travell & Simons, 1999).

What causes these myofascial trigger points?

Injury (muscles will tighten attempting to reduce severity of injuries)

Unexpected movements of the body

Quick movements

Change in regular exercise routine (an increase or decrease in regular physical activity)

Sustained postures (extended sitting for study or work)

Impingement of nerves (muscles will tighten attempting to protect the nerve)

Stress

Nutritional deficiencies (such as magnesium)

(Simons, et al., 1999)

How does Dry needling work?

Single use sterile filament needles (acupuncture needles) are inserted into the trigger point that causes a neurological response within the muscle fibres. This reaction allows the muscle to release and relax which helps reduce pain and encouraging and improving the recovery process.

Dry needling can help treat:

Headaches in relation to muscular tension

Tendinopathy including hamstring tendinopathy, Achilles, or tennis elbow

Sciatica and gluteal pain

General muscular tightness/tension

Lower back pain

Neck pain

Post-surgery

Sporting injuries