Causes of Neck Pain
      Neck pain and stiffness is so common, that it can seem like a part of daily life. Whether it is due to working at a computer, a sleeping position, or the stress of daily life, neck pain finds it way into nearly everyone's life at some point. Neck pain disorders respond very well to trigger point therapy. Many of the same muscle groups that contain trigger points that produce neck pain also harbor trigger points that produce headaches and shoulder pain. For this reason, trigger point treatment protocols that address headache and shoulder pain, must also address those trigger points that produce neck pain to be truly effective.

The Muscles and Trigger Points that Cause Neck Pain
      Trigger points in the following muscle groups are responsible for most types of neck pain and/or stiffness:
  • The Levator Scapulae
  • The Trapezius
        The Levator Scapulae muscle is a long, thin muscle located on each side of the neck. The muscle attaches to the upper spinal vertebrae, and runs downward, twisting as it does, to attach to the upper end of the shoulder blade. The Levator Scapula contracts to raise the shoulder blade (such as when you shrug your shoulders), and helps to rotate the head to the same side. This muscle is overloaded by common postural distortions, sporting activities, and car accidents. The trigger points in this muscle refer pain and stiffness to the side of the neck, base of the neck, and to the inside of the shoulder blade. Active Levator Scapulae trigger points make a person unable to turn their head, so they will often have to turn their body instead. Additional, the tension in this muscle will often bring about a shortness of breath.
      The Trapezius is the large, diamond shaped muscle group that forms the base of the neck and upper back region. It has attachment points at the base of the skull, along the spine, on the shoulder blade, and on the collar bone. When this muscle contracts it typically moves the shoulder blade, but it also plays a part in moving the neck and head.
       Trigger points in this muscle refer pain to the back and side of the neck, to the temple region, behind the ear or back of the head, to the shoulder joint, and in the upper back region. Trigger points in this muscle develop for a number of reasons, including poor posture, emotional stress, whiplash injuries, falls, and sleeping positions (or sleeping under a ceiling fan). Additionally, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dehydration (like the dehydration associated with a hangover) may activate trigger points in this muscle.
       The lower trigger point in the Trapezius will produce a aching pain in the shoulder and along the back of the neck. It is often the presence of this trigger point that gives one the feeling of the "weight of the world on your shoulders". The trigger point in the upper fibers refers pain strongly to the back of neck and base of the skull.
      Learn more about the Trapezius trigger points with these articles from Dr. Perry >
The Lower Trapezius Trigger Point: A.K.A. the "Bitchy" Point and Trapezius Trigger Points Are Like Opinions...Everybody Has One.
Important: The following content is provided for information purposes only. A proper diagnosis of any condition requires a physical examination by a licensed doctor.
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