The Scalene Muscles and Your Neck

The Scalene Muscles and Your Neck


The scalene muscles are responsible for movements of the head and neck and pass between the first/second ribs to the vertebrae of the neck. They lie deep to the upper trapezius, which is a common place for tension to be held.

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 supply blood to the upper arms, neck and head, as well as the subclavian vein. It stands to reason that nerves, arteries, and veins will have altered function when impinged or pinched.

Remedies: Open the chest and shoulders! Work upon mobility in the upper spine and 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. Physical therapy, such as sports massage is useful to lengthen tight tissues and mobilise shoulders/spine.

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Go well. Will

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