About The Scalene Muscles and Your Neck
Following on from last week’s article concerning restriction in movement of the neck and the sternocleidomastoid muscles, I thought it pertinent to follow up with discussion around the scalene muscles which are also responsible for movements of the head and neck.
Anatomy and Action: There are three scalene muscles; front middle and back, they are located on the outside of your throat and span the space between bony landmarks of your neck vertebrae (origin) and insert onto the first and second ribs. The first two ribs are situated much higher than many may realise, just behind your collarbone, not to confuse the two! Our scalenes are considered deep muscles of the neck, lying (partially) beneath the upper trapezius and partly covered by the levator scapulae at the back, they are responsible for rotation of the head to the opposite side, flexion of the head to the same side and elevate the ribs when we inhale.
Associated Problems: In short, besides neck pain and restriction of movement, tightness in the scalenes can constrict blood supply and alter nerve function leading to a host of issues under the banner of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome; search my blog or Facebook page for the specific article. A little detail around this: Sandwiched between the front two scalenes we have two important structures; a bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus which send messages to the arm, and the subclavian artery which supplies blood to the upper arms, neck and head. Nerves, arteries, and veins will clearly have altered function when impinged.
Remedies: Work upon mobility in the upper spine and shoulders to avoid rounding and forward head position respectively. If you sit for extended periods to work or to drive, assess your position, take regular breaks to move and stretch where possible. Consider a hatha (not pump!) yoga class or a yoga one to one where specific needs could be addressed and catered for.
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Go well. Will 🙂🙏