The levator scapulae muscle causes a lot of pain. Stretching and giving the muscle trigger point massage will give you only temporary relief. How do you get a permanent fix? Take the strain away!
The muscle is strained, or has too much tension on it when it is always stretched. The muscle lifts the inner upper corner of the shoulder blade up towards the neck AND also rotates the shoulder blade down, so the outer corner is lower than the inner corner.
The actual treatment is to strengthen the muscles which pull the shoulder blade back as well as those that lift and stretch tight muscles which pull the shoulder blade forward.
Does the Biceps muscle remind you of Popeye? If you eat enough spinach, it will get big:)
The long head of the biceps pulls on the shoulder and the short head pulls on the shoulder blade, and when it is tight it can pull the shoulder forward causing the shoulder bone to slip forward a little, out of alignment. This condition is called "anterior humeral glide syndrome: and can have the side effect of causing impingement and pain in the rotator cuff.
Tight biceps can also cause tennis elbow by straining and pulling the forearm into pronation if it is too tight.
So Stretch those biceps!
Did you every have whiplash? Did you fall off your bike as a kid and hit you chin on the ground? (I fell head first off my bike and knocked out both front teeth). If you have had any of these happen to you, likely you have headaches and neck pain. A simple exercise you can do to help with headaches is to do this:
1) lay on your back and put a rolled hand towel under your neck and bend up your knees.
2) nod your chin 1/4th of an inch like you are saying "yes" and hold.
3) do 10. slowly build up your hold to 5 seconds, then 10 seconds.
Want to strengthen your "core"? Will Pilates, yoga, ball exercises or crunches do the job? Yes if you have NEVER had back or abdominal painl IF you have had back pain, think again!
Your deepest "core" muscles will be slow to contract soon enough to protect your back when you lift, kick or reach for something. What to do? Visit a physical therapist that has a diagnostic ultrasound machine that can view your deepest "core muscles" (transverse abdominus).
Here is a video of viewing the deepest core:
Part of the "core" is also the pelvic floor. If you have stress incontinence, the ultrasound machine can be used to view the pelvic floor muscles to help you recover your strength. Here is a video:
We have diagnostic ultraosund at Comstock Physical Therapy. Come on in to get YOUR core assessed!
Did you get an achey back after shoveling snow? You may wonder why that happens. It happens because the deeper supportive muscles get tired and the larger lumbar paraspinals take over but they become achey. Here is a picture of the lumbar paraspinals:
What exercises can you do? First get onto your bed or floor, and stretch your hips back towards your knees.
Then, to relax the larger muscles and strengthen your core, contract your pelvic floor (Do a Kegel’s) and while holding the Kegel’s, pull your tummy in towards your spine. Hold for 5 seconds, and do 10 repetitions. Here is a picture of the deeper core muscles:
Have fun in the snow!