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Understanding Trigger Points in the Levator Scapulae

JANMI Therapist treats female patient's upper back

Greetings from JANMI, your trusted source for the best trigger point therapy in London!

I’m Paulius Jurasius, founder of JANMI, and today we’re delving into a common yet often misunderstood issue that many of my clients face: trigger points in the levator scapulae. Whether you’re an office worker, a busy parent, or an athlete, understanding and managing these trigger points can be key to maintaining a pain-free and active life.

What is the Levator Scapulae?

The levator scapulae is a muscle that runs along the back and side of the neck, connecting the cervical spine to the shoulder. It's primarily responsible for elevating the scapula, hence the name. But it does more than that—it helps in tilting and rotating the neck, playing a crucial role in your overall neck and shoulder mobility.

Common Causes of Trigger Points in the Levator Scapulae

Trigger points in the levator scapulae are often the culprits behind neck stiffness and shoulder pain. The main factors contributing to the formation of these painful spots include:

- Poor Posture: Prolonged sitting, especially with a forward head posture or while slouching, places excessive strain on the neck and shoulder muscles.

- Overuse: Repetitive activities that involve shoulder and neck movements can overtax the levator scapulae, leading to irritation and trigger points.

- Stress: Emotional stress can manifest physically, causing individuals to tense their shoulder and neck muscles subconsciously, leading to tightness and trigger points.

- Injury: Accidents or sudden movements can strain the levator scapulae, triggering these painful points.

Symptoms of Trigger Points in the Levator Scapulae

Identifying trigger points in the levator scapulae can be tricky as they mimic other common conditions. Symptoms include:

- Localized Pain: Sharp pain or a dull ache in the neck and at the top of the shoulder blade.

- Reduced Mobility: Difficulty turning the head or lifting the arm without discomfort.

- Referred Pain: Pain that radiates from the neck to the scalp or down into the arm.

- Tension Headaches: Frequent headaches originating from the back of the head, often due to neck stiffness.

JANMI’s Approach to Managing Trigger Points

At JANMI, we use a comprehensive approach to treat trigger points in the levator scapulae, blending expert assessment with personalized therapy plans. Here’s how we address these challenging pain points:

- Assessment: A thorough assessment to confirm the presence of trigger points and to understand their impact on your posture and mobility.

- Direct Pressure Application: Manual techniques to apply precise pressure, which helps in releasing the tension within the trigger point.

- Heat Therapy: Application of heat to increase blood flow and relax the muscle fibers.

- Corrective Exercises: Tailored exercises to strengthen the muscle and improve posture, reducing the risk of recurrence.

Prevention Tips

Managing trigger points isn’t just about treatment—it’s also about prevention. Here are a few tips to keep your levator scapulae healthy:

- Improve Your Posture: Regularly check and correct your posture, especially when sitting for long periods.

- Take Breaks: Incorporate frequent breaks into your routine to stretch and move your neck and shoulders.

- Manage Stress: Engage in activities that reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, or regular exercise.

- Ergonomic Adjustments: Set up your workspace to support good posture with appropriate chair height and monitor positioning.


Trigger points in the levator scapulae can be a persistent source of pain and discomfort, but with the right approach, they can be managed effectively. At JANMI, we’re committed to not just treating symptoms but empowering you with knowledge and solutions for sustainable health.

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