This muscle group is important for posture and can often be the culprit in neck and arm pain. It is important for taking deep breaths.
What They Do
They help you turn your head and take deep breaths.
Why They Hurt
- They may be too tight
- You might have a knot or spasm
- You might be overusing them
- There may be joint dysfunction (restriction in spine)
If you have a problem with your scalenes, you may also experience:
- Arm pain, due to
- Trigger points - see diagram below
- or, pinching of nerves that pass between the scalenes and enter into your arm
- Breathing that is not optimal
The trigger points (the ‘X’ icons) can cause pain in the colored areas.
What to Do (Treatments)
Depending on which of the above causes you may have, you can:
- Stretch (see below)
- Have your knots treated
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing (see below)
- Have your neck, upper back, ribs, clavicles adjusted (as applies to you)
How to: Stretch
- Slowly move into each of the positions in the pictures and use the weight of your hand to stretch the muscles.
- Hold for 7-15 seconds.
- Slowly regain neutral posture.
How to: Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Lie down or sit in a chair.
- Place your hand on your stomach, breathe in through your nose and allow your stomach to rise instead of your chest or shoulders.
- Once you are comfortable with this place your hand on your sides above your hip bones, allow this area to move.
- Once you are comfortable with this, place your hands on the small of your back above your hip bones, allow this area to expand.
The goal is to use your entire diaphragm to breathe instead of using your chest and shoulder muscles. This is good for those muscles as well as strengthening and stabilizing your core.