Neck Pain -|Levator Scapulae - A Small Muscle That Tries To Do Too Much

by Jennifer Chu - Date: 2007-03-30 - Word Count: 336 Share This!

Levator scapulae is one of the muscles that give intense neck pain after whiplash injuries due to car accidents or other trauma that has a sudden jolt to the neck spine.

This muscle arises from C1 through C4 vertebrae (transverse process) and attaches to the top part of the shoulder blade bone along its inner margin. Its action is to elevate the shoulder blade. It can also incline the neck to the same side. It is supplied by the dorsal scapular nerve which carries the C3 through C5 nerve roots, especially the C3 nerve root to this muscle.

With problems of the levator scapulae, patients will usually show the area of pain to be between the base of the neck and the upper and inner border of the shoulder blade which is precisely over the region of this muscle.

Usually, whiplash injuries involve the C7, C6 and C5 nerve roots predominantly in the cervical spine and the L5 and S1 nerve roots in the lumbosacral spine. Muscles subjected to constant lengthening contractions and supplied by these nerve roots include the latissimus dorsi (C6 through C8 nerve roots), deltoid (C5, C6), teres major (C5, C6) and triceps (C6, C7). For these muscles to function properly, the spinal muscles and the muscles supplied by the L5 and S1 nerve roots which also subjected to constant lengthening contractions such as the gluteus maximus (L5, S1), adductor magnus (L3 to S1) and tensor fascia lata (L5, S1) must function properly. When these large powerful muscles cannot function properly with lifting type activities especially involving the arms to be outstretched or overhead, the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles will usually come into play to help out in these activities. Lifting type activities will thus be performed by shoulder shrugging thus injuring both muscles.

Therefore treatments of levator scapulae must involve the trapezius, all the muscles mentioned above supplied by the C5 through C7 nerve roots, and the L5 and S1 nerve roots and spine extensor muscles from the neck to the base of the spine.

Related Tags: accidents, neck pain, whiplash injuries

Jennifer Chu, M.D. emeritus professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, pioneered eToims Twitch Relief Method that utilizes surface electrical stimulation to locate motor points (trigger points). The motor points are then stimulated to induce strong local muscle contractions, termed twitches. This results in reduced muscle pain and discomfort in the areas that were stimulated. The involved pain/discomfort-relieving mechanism is thought to include local muscle exercise and stretch effects. eToims Soft Tissue Comfort Center(r) specializes in diagnosis and treatment which ends muscle discomfort and pain.

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