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Hurts to turn your head? This will help.

This is the second of two release techniques for the levator scapulae, which is usually the culprit when it hurts to turn your head. To read about the first fix, go here.

Movement of a muscle

The levator scapulae helps to turn the head, tilt the head and, when both sides are working together, lift the shoulders and bend the head backward. When muscles are put under constant tension, usually due to stress or poor posture, they develop trigger points or sore spots. To further relieve the muscle of adhesions or trigger points, those tight spots need to be released through a range of motion.

A deep tissue massage moves an object, usually the therapists’ hand, along the muscle releasing those trigger points. This dynamic technique involves moving your muscle over an object, mainly a lacrosse ball (a tennis ball or soft ball will work too), by pinning the muscle in place with the ball and pulling the trigger point of the muscle over that pinned area. This will massage the muscle breaking up adhesions and trigger points through a range of motion.

Release it

  • Stand against a wall but facing away from it.

  • Take a lacrosse ball and place it between the wall and your back just above your scapulae on the affected side of your spine.

  • Step away from the wall about 6 to 10 inches or until you feel a pain threshold of between 5 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being excruciating.

  • Bend your knees so the ball is slightly above the trigger point and there is not so much discomfort.

  • With the ball on the right side of the spine, turn your head to the left and drop your head to your left hip pulling the trigger point through the pinned area and releasing it.

  • Hold for a count of 2.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat for 8 to 15 repetitions.

By the end of the set, it will be easier to move through the range of motion and relief should be felt.


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