Thank you for joining me again this evening for our nightly podcasts. I perform these podcasts in the hopes that you will be able to education yourself on the topics discussed so you can make better informed medical decisions regarding your health in the future. I am doctor Harrison Campbell of Restoration Health a premier sugar land chiropractors office. Previously we discussed orthopedic boots and braces as well as the proper use of such equipment. Tonight, we will be discussing the benefits of a daily stretching regimen.
We have discussed stretches in the past, as well as the benefits of them in broad terms. Tonight, we will focus on stretches for the cervical spine. This is extremely important due to the rise of desk jobs as a primary means of employment as well as the increased usage of smart phones. The core problem with this as sugar land chiropractors will say is prolonged positioning producing a shortening of muscle fibers. That is just a fancy way of saying we stiffen up after holding a posture due to muscles reflexively tightening and not returning to normal length upon moving.
Naturally short muscles create problems with biomechanics due to decreased motion available. These problems include joint dysfunctions and pain in a general sense. Specifically, for the cervical spine, these can produce headaches and sleeping difficulties in addition to the previous mentioned problems of joint dysfunction and pain.
Now sugar land chiropractors will tell you the two primary muscles which result in these problems are the trapezius and the levator scapulae. The scalene muscles can also contribute to this problem, but the play a minor role when compared to the other muscles. The trapezius muscle runs from the base of the skull to the should and continues partially down the back. This muscle can actually be subdivided into three zones, although the muscle is usually only discussed when talking about the upper trapezius which is the portion running from the skull to the shoulder and cervical spine. The levator scapulae runs from the angle of the scapular, also known as the shoulder blade, to the upper cervical vertebrae. This muscle is often overlooked due to the trapezius being viewed as the primary area of complaint.
The levator scapulae however is the primary problematic muscle when it comes to desk work. Due to the posture most people maintain sugar land chiropractors can tell this the muscle action flips when we use poor ergonomics at our desks. To fully understand what these means let us break down the muscle more in depth. The levator scapulae does as the name implies. It elevates the scapula. To do this, the muscle contracts and pulls the scapula at the insertion point towards the cervical spine, the origin point. This is the big part of muscle anatomy most people gloss over. The origin point is the point where the muscle contract towards and the insertion point is the part the muscle pulls. Therefore, when we say sedentary work flips the muscle action, we are saying the muscles origin and insertion swap. This creates problems because the muscle pulls the upper cervical vertebrae towards the shoulder blade. This severely alters the biomechanics and ultimate creates extension of the upper cervical vertebrae.
When the trapezius tightens from work, it is due to people shrugging their shoulders. As we face stress and sit in front of a computer with our arms typing, the shoulders are elevated. This creates a scenario where the muscle becomes accustomed to this shortened state, and this becomes the new resting muscle length. This new resting length is not the true resting length of the muscle and problems ensure due to changes in normal biomechanical motions occurring.
This is where stretching comes into play for a healthy life. Stretching as sugar land chiropractors will tell you is designed to restore a muscles normal resting length by essentially resetting the muscle. We have discussed stretching before, but let us refresh. Stretches as sugar land chiropractors will tell you should be done for a minimum of twenty five seconds in order for a change to actually occur to the resting length of the muscle. Recall that muscles contract on a regular basis. This means the fibers are use to tensile strength being placed upon them. If we hold a stretch for less than twenty five seconds there is no lasting change to the muscle.
As for the actual stretches for the trapezius and the levator scapula, we will break those down as best we can without visuals. The trapezius stretch has the patient place on hand behind their back reaching for the opposite hip. The other hand then assists with pulling the head towards the shoulder creating a stretch in the trapezius of the arm placed behind the back. This is then repeated on the opposite side.
For the levator scapula, we start with the same position, a hand behind the back reaching for the opposite hip. This time the hand goes to the back of the head and the chin is tucked into the armpit of the raised arm. This creates a stretch of the levator scapula of the arm behind the back. Again this is repeated for the opposite side. By performing both of these stretches, you can help reduce the muscle tension that occurs and help prevent problems from occurring with these muscles. The ultimate goal of these stretches is for sugar land chiropractors to offer you the best possible lifestyle with the fewest problems.
Thank you for joining me again this evening for another great podcast. I hope you enjoyed the discussion on stretching and the cervical spine musculature which is problematic when we forgo this important therapy. As always should you or someone you know require a sugar land chiropractors services or simply have more questions on what was discussed please call Restoration Health today. We would love to schedule you an appointment and get you on the path to better health today. Thank you once again for joining us. Have a good night.