Neck and Shoulders

New! Check out my video illustrating this stretch!

A lot of people come to me with problems in their neck and shoulders; anything varying from intense pain to general stiffness. Any number of things can cause this, including sitting at a desk all day or holding your head in a tilted position when reading or chopping vegetables.

Stretching out your neck and shoulders is super important to keep the muscles happy. This scalene stretch is one of my favorites:


Image copied from Travell and Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual.

This stretch can be done sitting or lying down.

  1. If you’re lying down [as shown], place your left hand underneath you. In a sitting position, simply sit on your left hand. This will prevent your left shoulder from rising during the stretch.
  2. Rotate your head towards your right elbow. Take your right hand and bring it over your head to your left ear. Using this hand, gently push your head towards the right side. You should feel a stretch on the left. With your head rotated in this manner, you are stretching your posterior scalenes.
  3. Doing this same stretch while facing forward will stretch your middle scalenes.
  4. Doing this same stretch while rotated away from your elbow will stretch your anterior scalenes
  5. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
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