Understanding Trigger Points – Stiffness up the side of the neck

There are several muscles that create stiffness in the neck. Most of them attach to the atlantoaxial complex. Check out these other posts about stiffness in the neck for more detail to see if they might really be your pattern.

This referral pattern creates pain up the back and side the neck while you turn your head. When it is very active, it also creates soreness and pain under the shoulder-blade.

Client’s Description

referral-levator-scapulaPeople complain about pain while turning their head and usually trace up and down the side of their neck while talking about it. They often complain about turning to look when they change lanes or tend to a child in the back seat. They also wince when lifting the shoulder with their arm beside them as when picking up a purse that is on the floor beside them while seated. This trigger point can make it painful to hang a bag on that shoulder. When it is really stiff, they lean their head to that side and might complain about soreness under the shoulder-blade.

This is activated in a number of ways. People most commonly say that they “slept Asleep on Couchwrong.” I’ve also created this by leaning my head to one side for a long time, especially when I’m leaning it against something like laying on a couch, watching a movie, with my head awkwardly supported by the arm but I don’t want to move as it would wake up Sleeping Beauty.

People also get this from using a walking cane improperly, ill-fitted glasses, leaning on a handrail while using the tread mill and other one-sided activities where they are pushing down. 

This pain pattern is very is common, and most people can activate a mild version of this pattern by turning their head to the right until it stops.

Get Relief with Self Care.

This post has stretches, exercise and changes in your activities for relief from this stiffness up the side of the neck.

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise.

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.

and some related posts…

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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