Trigger Points In the Levator Scapulae

What is a Trigger Point?

Trigger Points are a focus of hypersensitivity in a muscle fibers which refers musculoskeletal pain when overloaded. A trigger point is believed to be a knot or spasm in the muscles fiber that sends pain to other areas of the body.

Trigger Point Study of Levator Scapulae

For example, lets take a look at trigger points found in the the Levator Scapulae.

The Levator Scapulae is a long thin muscle found on either side of the neck and deep to the trapezius muscle. When a trigger point is activated in the Levator Scapulae, pain generally will refer locally, to the shoulder blades or between the shoulder blades. It may also refer to the neck, causing stiff neck. Common complaints are pain at the angle of neck, just at the base of the shoulder and difficulty turning the head to the same side.

Where is the Levator Scapulae?

The Origins of the Levator Scapulae are the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of cervical vertebrae 1 thru 4.

The insertion is located at the superior angle of the Scapula (Shoulder Blade); The Upper 1/3 of the medial border of the scapula.

The Function of the Levator Scapulae

Levator Scapulae elevates the scapula and laterally flexes the cervical spine.

Activators of the Levator Scapulae Trigger Points

  • Holding a telephone with your shoulder

  • Forward head posture

  • Working at a Computer with head slightly turned

  • Carrying a heavy bag or back pack

  • Sleeping on your stomach with your head elevated

  • Emotional Stress

  • Auto Accident

  • Acute Respiratory Infection

How Massage Therapy Can Help

Visiting a massage therapist for trigger point work is beneficial as the Massage Therapist will understand the relationship between your muscles and the pain you are experiencing. Knowledge of the muscles, tendons and insertion points is imperative to treating the trigger point area effectively. Your Massage Therapist will follow the Trigger Point Pattern to determine which muscles need to addressed first in order for subsequent muscles to be released. The therapist will apply compression to the area of concern, to release the spasm and stress in the muscle fiber. Releasing the spasm will reduce the pain and allow for more flexibility in the muscle.

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