Levator Scapulae Trigger Points: How to Prevent these Pesky Pain Points

Levator Scapulae Head Image

Overview

In this article, we are going to learn about levator scapulae trigger points. We will also give some information on how to treat pain caused by these trigger points along with the following:

路 What is the levator scapulae muscle

路 Levator scapulae pain

路 What are trigger points

路 Main causes of levator scapulae trigger points

路 Why trigger point massage helps

路 Preventing future trigger points

First, let鈥檚 start by understanding what exactly is the levator scapulae muscle.

What is the Levator Scapulae muscle?

The levator scapulae is a long and slender muscle that travels down the side of the neck to the scapula, otherwise known as the shoulder blade. This muscle is responsible for keeping the shoulder blade elevated, in other words, held up. It is one of four muscles that comprise the superficial extrinsic back muscle group: Levator scapulae, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and rhomboids. It plays a crucial role in bending and rotating the neck to the side and also helping with upper back posture. Neck movement can be severely hindered when this muscle is strained.

Levator scapulae is a long, slender muscle that connects the side of the neck to the shoulder blade. It’s responsible for how we rotate and bend the neck, along with upper back posture. 

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Levator Scapulae Pain

The Levator scapulae muscle is a common cause of pain when it becomes tight, stiff, or strained. Often individuals find that pain will radiate to the neck and shoulders, and at rare times the arm. If you feel a deep, aching sensation and tightness over the neck, the top of the shoulders, or between your shoulder blades then chances are this muscle is involved. Sharp pain may occur if you rotate the neck or lift the head. The levator scapulae may be involved in the following:

路 Levator scapulae syndrome

路 Sprengel deformity

路 Levator scapulae trigger points

路 Fibromyalgia

If you experience any of these symptoms, they may be caused by the levator scapulae. If you cannot adequately identify the source of your pain, or it is severe, please consult your doctor.

Levator scapulae pain can occur in the neck or shoulders, ranging from an unpleasant numbness to a crippling sharp pain when rotating or moving the neck.  

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What are Trigger Points

Our muscles consist of many single fibers, like long strings of thread. As we go about our day these fibers expand and contract with our movement. A trigger point is a small area within the muscle fiber that locks the thread in place, stopping it from expanding or contracting.

There are two forms of trigger points, 鈥渁ctive trigger points鈥, which are painful the majority of the time, and 鈥渓atent trigger points鈥, which are painful when pressed. When left untreated, latent trigger points will develop into active ones. It is usually active trigger points that motivate us to seek professional help to end the pain they cause us.

Trigger points are painful when touched and sometimes can be seen with the naked eye in the form of a lump on the body. However more commonly they are not visible due to their size and position on the body, lying deep within the muscle fibers.

They can also cause pain to be felt at a different part of the body from where the trigger point is located; this is known as referred pain. With regards to the levator scapulae muscle, there are two trigger points. The lower trigger point lies just above the superior angle of the shoulder blade and the upper trigger point lies between 1 to 3 inches above the lower trigger point. These trigger points lie deep in the upper trapezius muscle and can cause referred pain along the back, across the shoulder, or down the back, between the spine and shoulder blade. Because of the similarities in pain, a levator scapulae trigger point can often be confused with cervical joint dysfunction so a cervical assessment should be required for those who exhibit these symptoms.

A trigger point refers to a muscle fiber that has become tight, forming into a lump. This lump may or may not be visible but is painful to touch. Levator scapulae trigger points can cause referred pain to other parts of the body too.

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Main causes of Levator Scapulae Trigger Points

There are several reasons why a levator scapulae trigger point can develop. These include:

路 Poor posture

路 Cervical spine dysfunction

路 Repetitive arm motions for example in swimming, racquet sports, or throwing

路 Stress and anxiety

路 Holding a phone between the shoulder and ear for too long

路 Sleeping on stomach with head turned

The most common cause by far is sitting for prolonged periods with bad posture. This is often seen in office workers who sit frequently for long hours, with their shoulders and head protruding forwards. This creates a 鈥渉unchback鈥 position through the upper back and lower neck, which over time become stiff and inflexible. This chronic stress placed on the levator scapulae can result in a trigger point, pain, or numbness.   

Another field where levator scapulae injury is common is in the military. Military personnel must carry heavy equipment and repetitive load-bearing activities which can compromise the posture of the upper body and neck, leading to chronic injury and stress, particularly to the levator scapulae.  

A levator scapulae trigger point can develop from a range of causes, from holding heavy loads to repetitive arm swinging. But the most common cause is that classic 鈥渉unchback鈥 position caused by poor posture after hours of sitting in front of a computer.  

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Why Trigger Point Massage Helps

One of the best ways to help reduce the pain caused by a trigger point is through massage. This is because a trigger point is a swollen knot that stops the flood of blood to the muscle. Massage, however, can provide instant relief as it removes the blockage, flushing out any built-up toxins and then allowing fresh oxygenated blood into the area. This can also help prevent the growth of future trigger points! Thankfully you don鈥檛 need to pay for an expensive masseuse, as you can simply use our wonderful trigger point self-massage tool called Bapare! Bapare can help with levator scapulae trigger points and other trigger points located on many other parts of the body.

Preventing Future Trigger Points

While it is not always possible, we should always aim to prevent trigger points from ever developing in the first place before curing them. But how can we stop these pesky pain points from developing in the future? Here are some of the most important factors you should consider in daily life to prevent them from ever returning:

  • Good posture
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular stretching, exercise, and an active lifestyle
  • Nutritious diet
  • Drink enough water
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don鈥檛 smoke!

Do you need a massage device that is designed for levator scapulae trigger points? Look no further than Bapare! This is a trigger point massage tool that is built to target key areas of the body and provide you with instant relief. You can purchase one here on our website for a quality massage experience!

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Conclusion

Today we looked at some important things about levator scapulae trigger points. We learned what is the levator scapulae muscle, and discussed the pain involved with this muscle. We also explained what exactly is a trigger point and what can cause a levator scapulae from developing. Then we discussed how to prevent them in the future and why massage works for tackling these painful muscle knots.

If you suffer from a painful trigger point, not only as a pain in the neck but in other parts of the body, then chances are you could benefit from a trigger point massage device. Look no further than Bapare! Our device Bapare, which stands for BAck PAin RElief helps with deep tissue and muscle strain massage. You can find Bapare on sale on our website, available worldwide!

Liked this article? Make sure you take a look at our other posts available on our Blog page! For example, you can learn about other muscles that cause trigger points, like the Piriformis or the Infraspinatus. Or maybe you wish to learn more about Bapare? Check out How to use Bapare or Making of Bapare for more information. 

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