A really common complaint I hear is pain that seems to go from the shoulder blade up to the top of the neck. Your Levator Scapulae muscles run from your C1-C4 vertebrae (i.e. upper neck) down to your shoulder blade. These muscles do the job of “elevating” your scapula (i.e. shoulder blade) on each side.
I see peoples’ Levator Scapulae muscles involved in many issues related to neck and upper back problems. This is mostly due to stress, looking down at our cell-phones or tablets, and sitting at a computer for too many hours, carrying a bag or purse for extended periods, sleeping with your head tilted to the side (i.e. on an airplane), repeated rotation of the neck or constant extension of the neck (i.e. looking up for extended periods of time).
The nerves that go to the Levator Scapulae muscles come from your neck at the level of C4 & C5. In other words, if your C4/5 is out of alignment or subluxated, you can feel issues in the Levator Scapulae on either side just because the nerves are being effected by your neck needing to be adjusted!
The good news is that getting adjusted in your upper neck and making sure you’re doing your stretches will greatly improve how these muscles function and feel! One of the most common reasons I refer people to my favorite massage therapists is to release trigger points (i.e. nodules or knots within the muscles or surrounding tissues) in this muscle. So, the next time you hear someone complaining of a pain in the neck, tell them to come get adjusted and we’ll check the Levator Scapulae muscles to see if they need to be released.