A stiff levator scapulae or lev scap is often the main culprit behind shoulder pain that spreads to the neck and head. In most cases, doctors and upper cervical chiropractors refer to this as levator scapulae pinched nerve. If you got diagnosed with a lev scap pinched nerve, and you’re not sure what it means or how you got it, our quick and easy guide below might be helpful for you.
Check out our discussion on the anatomy of the levator scapulae and how you can naturally manage the pain caused by the nerve pinching on your shoulders.
What is the Levator Scapulae?
Levator scapulae might sound like a magical spell you hear from a movie like Harry Potter or Sabrina the Teenage Witch. However, in truth, it’s a muscle fiber that connects your uppermost cervical bones (neck bones) to your shoulder blades (or the scapula).
As the word “levator” suggests, this muscle fiber elevates or raises the shoulder bones. It allows you to lift your arms or heavy items like a standard barbell over your head. It also works hand in hand with other muscles like the pectorals and rhomboids to help you rotate your shoulders downwards.
Levator Scapulae Pinched Nerve: What Does It Mean?
The lev scap, like every other muscle, comes with nerve roots that could get pinched or compressed due to certain factors such as bad posture. If you often sit in front of your desk and look at your phone or screen while tilting your head downwards, you will most likely have levator scapulae pinched nerve.
This behavior can cause the gradual shifting of the neck bone positions. Unfortunately, when the bones shift, the nerves can get compressed or irritated. This could cause long-lasting pain that will prevent you from doing your usual task at work or home. It can also limit your shoulder motion, making it difficult to move your arm or life objects. A pinched nerve along your lev scap can also cause other symptoms, like:
- Mechanical neck pain
- Severe upper backache
- Shoulder blade tightness
- Reduced cervical and side flexion
Usual Remedies for Levator Scapula Pinched Nerve
Shoulder and neck pain can significantly affect your daily routine. Thankfully, you have plenty of options when relieving your lev scap pain. For example, you can try doing the levator scapulae stretch. Essentially, it’s a simple exercise that aims to address the tender or stiff muscles along the shoulders and neck. You can also try other levator scapulae pain remedies, such as:
- Massage – Relieve pressure on the affected muscles with a deep tissue massage.
- Electrical stimulation – Strained or stiff muscles can benefit from quick electrical stimulation. It’s a helpful remedy, especially if you have been dealing with the pain for a long time.
- Taking pain medication – OTC pain relievers offer quick relief from pain. Make sure to use them according to the prescribed dosage. This way, you can get the maximum benefits of the medication’s essential ingredients.
- Apply heat – Hot compress comes in handy in reducing pain and promoting faster healing. You can apply it to the affected area once in a while to speed up recovery, especially while using other remedies such as upper cervical care.
- Improve your workstation – If you are working from home like most people today, it may be helpful to invest a bit in better work furniture. Go for an ergonomic chair and table to prevent straining your neck and triggering the onset of a levator scapula pinched nerve.
Pinched Nerve and Upper Cervical Care
In most cases, the pinched nerve remains irritated until you find a way to relieve the pressure. If you suspect that the problem stems from a misaligned neck bone due to your poor sitting posture, you might benefit from getting an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment.
This will help you gradually restore your cervical bone alignment and remove the mechanical pressure they put on the levator scapulae muscle and nerve endings.
It’s imperative to relieve the pressure on the nerve as soon as possible to minimize damage to the nerve’s protective layer. If you leave the issue unresolved for a more extended period, the layer eventually degrades. This exposes your nerves and increases your risk for the onset of chronic shoulder and neck pain.
Get Lasting Relief For Levator Scapulae Pinched Nerve Today!
What seemed like a simple posture problem can quickly spiral to chronic pain that can prevent you from doing your usual activities like working or bonding with your family members.
If you have levator scapulae pinched nerve, you can start seeking the help of an upper cervical care doctor. It’s the most practical and natural approach to correcting the pinched nerve problem on your levator scapulae.
Upper cervical care is a gentle procedure that focuses on the uppermost portion of the neck. It aims to stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal and restore the normal alignment of the bones. As discussed earlier, each of the levator scapulae muscles attaches from the upper cervical bones to each shoulder blade. Naturally, if you have cervical subluxations, the levator scapulae muscles also get affected. It could also result in nerve pinching or compression, which then leads to burning or searing pain.
If you would like to tap into an alternative way to deal with the pain you experience, we suggest consulting with an upper cervical care practitioner. The sooner you can get your neck alignment checked and restored, the better improvements you can potentially enjoy.
Find a nearby upper cervical clinic for your levator scapulae pinched nerve today!