The levator scapulae is the first one to check if you have a stiff and painful neck.
You may be a couch potato, an office worker or even a pretty fit rock climber. This muscle does not discriminate when it decides to give you a sore neck.
Most people who have trouble with this muscle suffer from a stiff and/or painful neck on the affected side.
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When trigger points are present in your levator scapulae, they can give you pain right at their location and send it to other, seemingly unrelated areas of your body.
The main pain zones of the levator scapulae are the side of your neck and your upper shoulder.
But this muscle is also capable of sending pain to your shoulder blade and along its inner border – which is called margo medialis –.
It can contribute to the following aches:
In the picture, the red colour will show you the pain zones.
The darker the red, the more common it is to experience pain in the respective area when your levator contains trigger points.
If you overstress this muscle, it will let you know.
You will have a hard time turning your head fully to the side without pain. This is what most people experience when they are complaining about a stiff and painful neck.
Lying on a sofa or in bed and lifting the neck can be so painful that you have to support your head with your hands.
This is especially annoying when you want to change the position of your head on the pillow in order to get a comfortable sleeping position.
Tilting your head forwards in order to read a book also can become painful.