Monday, 3 March 2014

Levator Scapula

Today's muscle is LEVATOR SCAPULA 

(plural: levator scapulae)

'Levator Scap' (I like to call it for short!) 
attaches onto the sides of our top four vertebrae in the neck
(the transverse processes of C1-C4) and connects to the top corner of 
the shoulder blade on the same side  
(in anatomical terms: it connects to the medial border of the scapula - between the superior angle & the root of the spine of the scapula.)

Some muscle's names describe what action they are responsible for! Levator meaning to "elevate" and  and scapula meaning, well, scapula (aka shoulder blade!) 
Levator Scapula lifts the shoulder blade! 

You'll see that this muscle has a natural twist in it!  This twist in the muscle fibers creates a density that can often be mistaken for a knot in the shoulder! 

When we're feeling, tension& stress or feeling chilly, working for a long time on computers, our shoulders have a tendency to creep up towards our ears! (If you've ever been to a Yoga class, I'm sure you're familiar with the term "intend your shoulders AWAY from your ears" ;)    
 To give Levator Scap some love (aka A GOOD stretch) 
read this first!

-seated with the shoulder down > to do this you can put your arm behind your back like you're trying to reach between your shoulder blades (scapulae) *if this is uncomfortable simply extend your arm down (elbow straight) & hold the seat of a chair also does the trick! (hope that makes sense! your fingers would curl under the seat)

-then slowly flex your neck forward (chin towards chest) & ALSO intending opposite ear to opposite shoulder (for example if you were stretching the LEFT side > left shoulder depresses > right ear intends towards right shoulder)

- TO INTENSIFY STRETCH: USE your opposite hand on your head to gently add pressure to your head :)

*always move slowly to avoid injury* when you find a juicy spot: HOLD for 15-30 seconds and Breathe. REMEMBER TO DO THE OTHER SIDE TOO!

 (Shoulders living close to ears? not hot.)