Jeremy Waite


Stretching advice

Neck stretch focusing on the Levator scapula muscle

Position and function of the muscle:

The levator scapula runs along the back and side of the neck, connecting the upper vertebra of the neck (transverse process of C1-C4) to the shoulder blade (or scapula). Its primary functions are to side-bend and rotate the head and neck as well as to lift (extend) the head and neck when the two muscles on each side of the body work together. This muscle can often be the cause of discomfort and soreness in the head, neck and shoulder and so it should be assessed for tension whenever there is pain in this area.

The stretch:

To perform this stretch, sit comfortably in a chair holding good posture with a straight back. To stretch the left levator scapula, reach onto the top left side of your head with your right arm and use this to aid the stretch as you look across and down (see image). The stretch should be gently felt through the neck and levator scapula at which point hold your position for 10-15 seconds making sure to continue with deep calm breaths. Release the stretch and relax before repeating two or three times. To make the stretch deeper, place your left arm behind your back.

Even if only one side of the neck is sore make the stretch is carried out on both sides to ensure that the muscles remain balanced.

Inevitably, given my job, I would also recommend that this stretching is carried out in conjunction with a good sports massage which will further help loosen up the affected area.
Please note:

- Stretches should only be performed gently, not with any discomfort or pain and only subsequent to a gentle warm up
- When stretching do not bounce or strain into a stretch, increase the pressure slowly to a point where you feel the stretch become active
- Care should be exercised to perform all stretches correctly – if in any doubt please contact a specialist for verification on stretching manoeuvres.

Jeremy Waite works as a Sports Massage Therapist in Berkshire covering areas such as Thatcham, Newbury, Reading and Basingstoke.

Back to Strengthening and Stretching Exercises

Providing sports and remedial massage as well as training and rehabilitation advice throughout Berkshire and Oxfordshire and especially to clients in Streatley, Goring, Pangbourne, Wallingford and Reading.

Levator scapula and neck stretch

Contact details:

Jeremy Waite PTS (Dip), MSMA, MISRM
5 Underwood Cottages
The Coombe
Reading, RG8 9RA

Studio: 01491 872556

Mobile: 07827 926123

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