The scalenes muscles are a group of three muscles in the neck that are responsible for moving the neck and helping to regulate the flow of air into the lungs. The scalenes muscles are located on either side of the neck and are called the anterior scalene, the middle scalene, and the posterior scalene. The anterior scalene muscle is the most superficial and runs from the first and second cervical vertebrae to the first rib. The middle scalene muscle is located deeper and runs from the second and third cervical vertebrae to the first rib. The posterior scalene muscle is the deepest and runs from the third and fourth cervical vertebrae to the second rib. The scalenes muscles are important for breathing, neck movement, and posture, and they can become strained or overworked due to poor posture, repetitive strain injuries, or other factors.
Function of the Scalenes Muscle
The scalenes muscles are responsible for several important functions in the body. They are involved in the movement of the neck, helping to flex, extend, and rotate the head and neck. They also play a role in regulating the flow of air into the lungs by contracting and relaxing to help open and close the airways. In addition, the scalenes muscles help to maintain proper posture by supporting the weight of the head and neck and keeping them in alignment with the rest of the body.
The scalenes muscles can become strained or overworked due to poor posture, repetitive strain injuries, or other factors, and this can lead to pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help to alleviate these symptoms and keep the scalenes muscles healthy. It’s important to maintain good posture and take breaks to stretch and rest if you engage in activities that require repetitive neck movements, such as typing or driving.
Common Issues with a Scalenes Muscle
The scalenes are a group of three muscles located in the neck that are responsible for moving the neck and assisting with breathing. Some common issues that can occur with the scalenes muscles include:
- Muscle strain or spasm: These muscles can become strained or go into spasm due to overuse or improper use, such as poor posture or repetitive neck movements.
- Trigger points: Tight or overactive scalenes muscles can develop trigger points, which are small, tender knots that can cause pain and discomfort.
- Referred pain: The scalenes muscles can refer pain to other areas of the body, such as the shoulders, upper back, or arms.
- Nerve impingement: The scalenes muscles can also cause nerve impingement, which occurs when a nerve becomes compressed or pinched. This can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected areas.
- Poor posture: Poor posture, such as looking down at a phone or computer screen for extended periods of time, can lead to overuse and strain of the scalenes muscles.
Treatment for issues with the scalenes muscles may include rest, physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, and massage therapy. In some cases, medications or injections may be recommended to help manage pain and inflammation. It is important to address any issues with the scalenes muscles as soon as possible to prevent further complications and to promote healing.
How to stretch your Scalenes Muscle
To stretch your scalenes muscles, you can try the following steps:
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Place one hand on the top of your head and the other hand on the side of your neck, just below your ear.
- Gently tilt your head to the side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.
- You can also try tilting your head backwards slightly to stretch the back of your neck.
It’s important to stretch gently and avoid overstretching, as this can cause muscle strain. If you experience any pain or discomfort while stretching, stop immediately.
How to Rehab your Scalenes Muscle
If you have injured your scalenes muscles or are experiencing muscle tension or strain, it’s important to seek medical attention and follow a rehabilitation plan to ensure proper healing and prevent further injury. Here are some general steps you can take to rehab your scalenes muscles:
- Rest and avoid activities that may strain the muscles. This may involve taking a break from certain physical activities or modifying your routine to allow for more rest.
- Apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation. Use an ice pack or wrap a bag of ice in a thin towel and place it on the muscle for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Perform gentle stretches and neck exercises to improve mobility and strengthen the muscles. Your healthcare provider or physical therapist can recommend specific exercises that are appropriate for your condition.
- Gradually return to your normal activities, taking care to avoid activities that may strain the muscles.
It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and not push yourself too hard. If you experience any pain or discomfort during your rehab, stop immediately and consult your healthcare provider.