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Levator Scapulae Muscle



Treating Levator Scapulae Trigger Points - Dr. Jonathan Kuttner


Ischemic Compression Technique

Stretching for Levator Scapulae


Almost all neck pain will have myofascial trigger point contributions, and levator scapulae is commonly involved

Levator scapulae is deep to the SCM and trapezius. It is named after its action of elevating the scapula.

The levator scapulae acts eccentrically to decelerate the downward forces created by the lower fibers of the trapezius and serratus anterior. The levator scapulae decelerates contralateral side flexion in the cervical spine.

Almost all neck pain will have myofascial trigger point contributions, and this muscle is commonly involved.

Pain will be experienced at the angle of the neck from the superior angle, making its way down to the medial aspect of the inferior angle, with spillover all the way along the medial border of the scapula.

Clients will often present with a stiff neck and reduced range of motion.




Dry Needling the Levator Scapulae - Paul Townley



Levator Scapulae Trigger Points

Levator Scapulae - Common Trigger Point Sites




Posterior tubercles of transverse processes of first three or four cervical vertebrae (C1–4).


Medial (vertebral) border of scapula, between superior angle and spine of scapula.


Trapezius, rhomboids, splenius cervicis, erector spinae, scalenes, SCM.


Elevates scapula. Helps retract scapula. Helps bend neck laterally.


Dorsal scapular nerve C4, 5, and cervical nerves C3, 4.

Basic Functional Movement

Example: carrying a heavy bag.

Sports that heavily utilize this muscle

Examples: shot put, weightlifting.


Levator Scapulae - Common Trigger Point Sites and Pain Patterns


Levator Scapulae - Typical Referred Pain Patterns


Trigger Point Referred Pain Patterns

Triangular pattern from top of scapula to nape of neck. Slight overspill to medial border of scapula and posterior glenohumeral joint.


Stiff and painful neck with limited rotation of cervical spine, long-term use of walking stick, neck pain and stiffness, problems turning neck (e.g. driving).


RTA, holding telephone ear to shoulder, side sleeping with wrong pillows, backpacks, poor posture, sustained habits or occupation, TV/monitor position, stress and tension, cold/flu or cold sores, sports (swimming front crawl).

Differential Diagnosis

Scapulothoracic joint dysfunction; winging of scapula. Apophysitis and capsular-ligamentous apparatus. Shoulder impingement syndromes.

Trigger Point Treatment Techniques

Spray and Stretch YES
Deep Stroking Massage YES
Compression YES
Muscle Energy Techniques YES
Positional Release YES
Dry Needling YES
Wet Needling YES


Self help

Self-massage techniques can be very helpful; especially balls and pressure tools.

General advice to patients

Hold telephone shoulder to ear. Stress. Occupation. Air conditioning. Passive stretching. Heat and warmth. Scarf in cold weather. Change walking stick position.



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As a manual therapist or exercise professional, there is only one way to expand your business - education!

Learning more skills increases the services that you offer and provides more opportunity for specialization.

Every NAT course is designed to build on what you already know, to empower you to treat more clients and grow your practice, with a minimal investment in time and money.

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About Niel Asher Education

Niel Asher Education is a leading provider of distance learning and continued education courses.

Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, we provide course and distance learning material for therapists and other healthcare professionals in over 40 countries.

Our courses are accredited by over 90 professional associations and national accreditation institutions including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Full details of all international course accreditations can be found on our website.  

Printed course materials and other products offered on our websites are despatched worldwide from our 3 locations in the UK (London), USA (Pennsylvania) and Australia (Melbourne).

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We are honored to have received the 2017 "Excellence in Education" Award from the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists.

Since 1999 Niel Asher Education has won numerous awards for education and in particular for education and services provided in the field of trigger point therapy.

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Award Winning Instructors

Niel Asher Healthcare course instructors have won a host of prestigious awards including 2 lifetime achievement honorees - Stuart Hinds, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, AAMT, 2015, and Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, MD, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, NAMTPT, 2014.

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In addition to national accreditation for continued education, each course that we offer includes "NAT Learning Credits". By taking and completing courses you can accumulate NAT credits to qualify for NAT certification.

There are currently 3 levels of NAT certification. Certifying NAT is a valuable way to show your clients that you take continued education seriously, and to promote your skills and qualifications.

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NAT courses are accredited for continuing education by over 30 professional associations in North America, United Kingdom, Australia, and European Union countries. These include The National Academy of Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy Board of California, AAFA, National Certification Board for Manual Therapists and Bodyworkers, Sports Therapy Institute, and Myotherapy Australia.

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Niel Asher Technique

Since 1999 the Niel Asher Technique for treating trigger points has been adopted by over 100,000 therapists worldwide, and has been applied to the treatment of a number of common musculoskeletal injuries.

The Niel Asher Technique for treating frozen shoulder was first introduced and published in 1997 and has been widely adopted by therapists and exercise professionals working within elite sports and athletics.

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Most of our courses are available as either "Printed" or 'Download" editions. When you purchase a download edition, you receive immediate lifetime access to all course material. Course texts can be downloaded and printed if required. 

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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 





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