The scalenes muscles are located in the neck and help with neck movements and inspiration. The anterior scalene runs directly over the brachial plexus that gives nerve and blood supply to the arm. Poor neck and head posture as well as poor breathing mechanics can cause this muscle to become overloaded and develope trigger points. These points will refer pain into the shoulder, arm, and hand. As well as the shoulder blade. When tight, the anterior scalene muscle can put pressure on the brachial plexus causing numbness and tingling felt in the fingers and hand.
The sternocleidomastoid muscle is a thin strap like muscle located on both sides of the front of the neck. It helps with movement and posture of the head and neck. This muscle often becomes shortened and tight in people with poor head forward posture. As a result trigger points can form, and these points can cause pain to refer into the skull, and face around the eye. Trigger points in this muscle can also refer into the inner ear.
The levator scapulae muscle is a thin strap like muscle in your neck. It helps to shrug the shoulders and to side flex the neck. This muscle often becomes over worked when the head is tilted forward, or the shoulders are in an elevated position for prolonged periods of time. When strained trigger points develop. These points will refer pain into the neck and shoulder blade area. Trigger points in the levator scapulae are a main cause of a stiff neck.
The suboccipital muscles are small muscles at the base of the skull. These muscles often get strained by poor neck and head posture. Chronic strain will cause trigger points to form. Trigger points in the suboccipital muscles are major cause of headache pain. These points refer an achy pain deep into the skull being that eye and into the temple.
One of the most common things I treat in my practice is myofascial trigger points in the neck muscles. More often than not these points have been caused to develop due to poor neck and shoulder posture. You know the posture, head forward, shoulders rounded, spine curved. Anyone that has had to sit in front of a computer all day, or in car for a long period of time, or spends a lot of time on their phone has experienced this type of posture. The muscles that are responsible for holding your neck up, and your shoulders back, become fatigued over time causing a chronic overload stress. When this happens trigger points can be formed in the muscle tissue. Trigger points are areas of the muscle that have been jammed in the “on” position. They are Almost like a micro cramp within the muscle. These points are hyper sensitive and cause pain, referred pain, stiffness, and weakness among other symptoms. Trigger points in the neck muscles not only cause neck pain, but also refer pain into the head and face, mimicking headache and migraine type pain.
One of the most common forms of pain I see in my practice is neck and shoulder pain. Many people have jobs that require the muscles of the neck and upper back to work overtime to keep proper neck posture. Sitting in front of a computer all day or being stuck in a car or truck for example will eventually cause these muscles to become strained and develop trigger points. These trigger points will then cause pain, referred pain, stiffness and weakness. Neck and upper back trigger points will refer pain into the neck and head.
Neck pain and stiffness are very common. Most of us have, at one point or another experienced it. Neck pain can range from being an annoyance to being excruciating and debilitating. Lots of issues can cause neck pain, but one of the most common causes are myofascial trigger points. Trigger points from in muscles tissue from overload stress. This stress causes muscle fibers in a muscle to become contracted into a knot. These knots will produce pain, referred pain, stiffness and weakness among other symptoms. Trigger points in the levator scapulae and the trapezius muscles are a leading cause of neck pain and stiffness.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.
This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.
Signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Pain that persists or worsens
- A tender knot in a muscle
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain