Scalene (neck) Stretch
By Taylor Norris RMT at unionwellness.ca
Our two sets of three separate muscles (anterior, medius, and posterior) known as the scalenes are located at each side of the neck. They attach to the sides of our cervical (neck) vertebrae and to our first and second ribs. Together they are primarily muscles of inspiration (inhalation), raising the first rib during strong inhalation. Individually they aid us during rotation and lateral flexion of the neck.
Chronic tightness of these muscles can potentially lead to very painful conditions of the neck and shoulder girdle due to increased pressure across the nerve bundle known as the brachial plexus, and also increased pressure across the subclavian artery.
To stretch the scalenes, begin lying face up on a yoga mat/blanket on the floor, or if it’s difficult getting to the floor your bed will also work (just don’t fall asleep!!). Then, gently pull your left shoulder down away from your ear. Proceed to slowly draw your right ear towards your right shoulder with the help of your right hand, being mindful NOT to rotate your head as you do so. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds if possible, and then slowly return your head to the centre, and repeat all steps for the right side.