Is Your Levator Scapula To Blame?

Levator Scapula Pain Relief

Do you have shoulder pain?

Were you told that it might be coming from your levator scapula?

Do you know what your levator scapula is?

It can commonly cause neck, upper back, and shoulder pain.
The levator scapula is the muscle you are trying to reach and rub when you put your hand behind your
back, from the top, and the top of your shoulder blade. It is the area between the top of the
shoulder blade and the spine.

The levator scapula is a muscle that attaches the top medial portion of the shoulder blade to the neck.
It raises your shoulder blades. This muscle helps you to shrug.
If you keep your shoulders raised high and up by your ears, you can cause your levator scapula to
spasm. Once your levator scapula goes into spasm, it will be painful to lower your shoulders and
do many other motions with your shoulders.
The primary irritant for our shoulders these days are computer work, driving, and looking down at your

These actions cause us to hunch our shoulders.
When we hunch our shoulders while looking down, our shoulder blades come up to our ears. This will
cause our shoulders, upper back, and neck to all tighten up.
Throw some stress on top, causing us to clench our teeth or clench in other areas, and this motion can
easily cause a flare of the levator scapula and the surrounding areas.

The subscapularis is one of the main muscles that move our shoulders up to our ears.
You’ll recognize the muscle if you’ve read any of my other blogs.
It is the big rotator cuff muscle between your shoulder blade and your spine.
This muscle causes you to shrug your shoulders.

When you are sitting in front of a computer for hours, getting stressed out, these muscles will tighten up.
When driving for long distances, even over 30 minutes, hunching over the steering wheel and
having a death grip on the steering wheel can cause these muscles to spasm.
When you are sitting at home, scrolling on your phone, and looking down at it, then your shoulder
blades will be coming up your back and tightening up.
All of these motions can cause your levator scapula to go into spasm.
How do you calm down the levator scapula?

This involves stretching the hips into the upper back, shoulders, and even the neck.
On my website,, you’ll find stretches and exercises for all
these areas. I recommend starting at level 1. Under the blog section of my website, you can find videos
explaining and demonstrating how to trigger point and foam roll your achy and painful muscles at home
and calm down these inflamed and irritated muscles.

Please keep in mind that a tight muscle will be a weak muscle. Even if the muscle feels weak, you want
Start by stretching it and loosening it up before you try to strengthen it.
You must work out the entire neck, upper back, and shoulder complex.
Trigger-point therapy is one of the best ways to get this worked out.
Trigger point therapy can treat all of the affected shoulder, upper back and neck, and even jaw
muscles that can contribute to the pain complex.
An excellent soft tissue chiropractor will be able to work out the trigger points to get the muscles to move the
the way they were designed to move.

Then, a good physical therapist will help reinforce healthy movement patterns and get the shoulder to
move how it was designed. Allowing for positive movement hygiene.
Deep tissue laser therapy is also a great addition to help speed up the healing process.
We can treat and relieve your muscle and joint pain at Cohen Chiropractic Trigger Point Center.
If you are suffering from levator scapula pain, come in and see us.
We will get the pain out.

Have a Pain Free Day.

Levator Scapula Pain Relief

Jaw Aches to Headaches to Shoulder Pain

Jaw Aches to Headaches to Shoulder Pain: Understanding the Link

We use our jaw all day long. You’d think that you only use it when talking or chewing, but we do stuff with our jaw all day. Our jaws are very proprioceptive. When we focus or concentrate, it is common to clench our teeth. I am convinced that the reason smoking was so popular was because it was something that we could do with our jaw without gaining weight. There is a kinetic chain (how one muscle is connected to another muscle and another muscle) from our jaw to our neck to our shoulder to our arm, to our elbow, and to our hand. This means that when we are sitting in front of a computer, focusing and getting stressed, we can be clenching from our jaw into our neck into our shoulder and our elbow and hand.

The best way to describe it is this: You can make a fist and involve your hand. Now, you can make more of a fist and involve your hand, elbow, and shoulder. Now, you can make even more of a fist and involve your hand, elbow, shoulder, neck, and jaw. That’s why powerlifters are taught to grit their teeth- it closes down and tights up their kinetic chain, allowing them to get the most out of their muscles. If you have a shoulder issue (pain, dysfunction, injury, etc) and you clench or grind your teeth, you won’t be able to get rid of your shoulder issue unless you address your tight jaw. The same applies to your neck; if you have a neck issue and clench your jaw, it would be best to treat your jaw to relieve neck pain.

Does your jaw lock? Does it pop or click? Does it get stuck? Does it cause pain? Does it pop out of the socket? Do you have pain around the jaw? All of these are symptoms of TMJ-D (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction). The TMJ is the joint that your jaw hinges on. You will feel the TMJ moving if you put your fingers just in front of your ears and open your jaw. If you have pain associated with the TMJ, there are a few tricks you can employ to treat it. First, if your dentist says you are grinding your teeth down, get one of those expensive, $500-$700 a night or bite guards. They are costly but worth it. It is a hard plastic that discourages you from chewing.

The less expensive sports mouthguards that you can get at Dicks will be soft plastic or rubber, which encourages chewing or grinding. Even if you grind through one of those expensive night or bite guards and have to bite the bullet (pun intended) and buy another bite guard, it will be worth it. I have heard from many patients that getting caps on your teeth is rough. It is expensive, time-consuming, and painful. If you can avoid grinding down your teeth with a bite guard, even 2, it will be worth it in the long run. Yawning is the best stretch for your jaw if you can feel yourself grinding or clenching. Don’t yawn to the end range if your jaw is tight and sore. It might get stuck if you do.

Listen to your body slowly yawn and stretch your jaw open. Place both index fingers on the outside bottom corner of your jaw. Move your index fingers forward and up about an inch. They should be below the cheekbone and on a big muscle. This muscle is called the masseter. You can treat it by feeling around for the tight and irritated areas and lightly pressing on both sides at the same time. You can also touch all your fingers to your skull, above your ears. Slowly work them up towards the top of your head. Press on these lightly if you feel sore spots or stringy muscles. These are trigger points in the temporalis muscle. Treating the temporalis and masseter muscles will help to alleviate jaw, head, and neck pain on most people.
If you try home treatment and you are not able to alleviate your pain, then come to my center for trigger point therapy (Nimmo, Receptor Tonus) and deep tissue laser therapy. They will both help heal your TMJ-D and get it back working, moving, and functional.

You can also check out my blogs at There is one in particular (with videos) on how to treat your TMJ at home.

Have a Pain Free Day.