Earlier this week, I told you about scalene muscles and the pesky problems they can cause. Today, I will show you ways to relieve trigger points and tension in this group of 3 small muscles in your anterior neck.

First of all, I recommended starting with massage to the scalenes. “Supraclavicle Scrub Out” is a terrific Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball massage routine that targets these muscles. This technique can be found on pages 329-330 in The Roll Model by Jill Miller or learned from a Roll Model® instructor in your area.

Due to the common issue of excessive screen time with forward head posture in our modern culture, it can be very helpful to lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, in a YTU pose called Ardha Savasana (half corpse). While in this position, if your head is tilted back, you should place a small book or folded towel under your head to bring your neck to a neutral position (eyes should be looking straight up toward the ceiling). Rest in this position and practice deep breathing techniques for several minutes to decrease stress and tension in the scalene muscles.

Stretching the scalenes also aides in diminishing their tension. The video below shows an effective stretch for the scalenes and platysma in your anterior neck:

Finally, I recommend developing positive posture habits while sitting and standing, tucking your chin so that your ears are directly over your shoulders. An average adult head weighs 8 to 12 pounds, so adjusting your head back even an inch can make a huge difference in the tension you carry in your neck muscles. Pay special attention to how you hold your head while using your phone, computer or tablet, and place these screens directly in front of your face, rather than dropping your face down to the screen, with a goal of keeping your entire spine in neutral.

I hope this helps remedy tension in your scalene muscles and the wide array of symptoms they can cause!


Enjoyed this article? Read Breathe Easier with Yoga Tune Up

Christina Summerville

Christina has been a physical therapist for over 20 years. She is a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is also a certified MELT Method® Instructor. Christina's passion is to inspire and empower her clients to rid themselves of pain and injury so they can perform at their BEST and live life to the FULLEST. She started her own small fitness and wellness business, Summerville Fitness, to help merge the worlds of healthcare and fitness, making instruction in quality movement accessible in a private wellness sessions or group classes. She loves teaching her students more about their bodies and how to help them improve posture and bring more balance to their frame. Yoga Tune Up® is her most recent certification and she is really enjoying practicing YTU and sharing it with others! Christina also incorporates Yoga Tune Up® in physical therapy sessions she provides at her PT office at Universal Chiropractic in West Seneca. She teaches at various locations in Western New York Including Universal Chiropractic in West Seneca and Live Fit in Lancaster. She is also happy to schedule customized private or group classes at your location or hers!

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Ann Donachey

The neck is an interesting area to stretch, so many sensitivities that it is often left neglected…I like the self stretching video included because having people use their own hands in palpation and release of this area might decrease the reactivity of having someone else touch this area to support. I gave it a try and OH MY thats an area that needs some TLC in my body.
Thank you for putting this information together!

Colleen Flaherty

Oh, so easy! I love that this move is “tool free” and we can do anywhere! It also gives a felt sense of what is going on in our bodies as we touch and bring relief to this area commonly tight. As we release the front/anterior, we can then use the back/posterior muscles to pull the head back over the ribs and get in neutral! Thanks Jill!