Scalenes Stretch

Scalenes Stretch

Scalenes

The Scalenes muscle group is made up of three muscles; Anterior Scalene, Middle Scalene & Posterior Scalene. Due to the anatomical location of these muscles, tightness (hyper-contraction) within can contribute to tension headaches and can refer pain both into the chest and shoulder. Between the anterior and middle scalene also passes the brachial plexus. A network of nerves that supplies signals to the shoulder and arm. Therefore, tension within these muscles can also restrict these nerve signals, causing pain and paraesthesia ‘pins and needles’ down the arm and as far as the hand.

Scalene StretchStretching

Anterior Scalene ~ Sitting or standing, rotate the neck and head towards the side you are intending to stretch and extend the neck and head upward (as if you are trying to look out an aeroplane window at the sky above). Using your opposite hand, grasp over the top of your head (with your fingers resting just above your eyebrow) and apply a mild force opposite the direction you are rotating and extending your head. To increase the stretch, bring your other arm behind your back by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow.

Scalene Stretch

 

Middle Scalene ~ Sitting or standing, laterally flex the head to one side and using your opposite hand, grasp over the top of your head (with your fingers resting just above your ear) and apply a mild force towards the direction you are flexing your head. To increase the stretch, bring your other arm behind your back by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow.

Scalene Stretch

 

Posterior Scalene ~ Sitting or standing, rotate the neck and head away from the side you are intending to stretch and flex the neck and head downward. Using your opposite hand, grasp over the top of your head (with your fingers resting just above the base of your skull) and apply a mild force towards the direction you are rotating and flexing your head. To increase the stretch, bring your other arm behind your back by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow.

Anatomy

Muscle
Origin
Insertion
Action
Anterior Scalene
TPs of C3 – C6 (anterior tubercles)
1st Rib (scalene tubercle)
Flexion & ipsilateral flexion of neck
Elevation of 1st rib (if neck is stabilised)
Contralateral rotation of neck (weak action)
Middle Scalene
TPs of C2 – C7 (posterior tubercle)
1st Rib (behind anterior scalene)
Flexion & ipsilateral flexion of neck
Elevation of 1st rib (if neck is fixed)
Posterior Scalene
TPs of C5 – C7 (posterior tubercles)
2nd Rib
Ipsilateral flexion of neck
Elevation of 2nd rib (if neck is fixed)