I am just getting back from vacation in Orlando and man am I tired and stiff! Travel can be tough on the body....carrying suitcases, catching zzz's on a plane, sleeping in different beds....add in waiting in Disney lines and making our way through spring break crowds and I might need a vacation to recover!

So this month's muscle is one that is totally hurting for me right now. If you didn't travel over spring break, you could still be feeling tension in this month's muscle, especially if you've been hunched over, rushing to finish your taxes!

Without Further Ado, April's Muscle of the Month......
Muscle of the Month: Levator Scapulae  
*Location- This small, but very important muscle connects  the cervical spine (neck) to the scapula (shoulder blade).
*Action- The main job is in the name- lift the scapula. The levators also help stabilize the neck, rotate the neck and assist in lateral neck flexion- ear to shoulder.
*Common Complaints- This is an over worked, over used, very busy muscle that is the main culprit for stiff necks, loss or range of motion in the neck, headache at the back of the head and base of the neck, and general neck and shoulder pain.
*Typica l Causes- The human neck moves up to 600 times an hour, whether you're awake or sleeping, so the neck muscles are a busy group, with the levator scapulae being the most problematic of them all. Sleeping wrong, holding the phone on one shoulder, long periods of things like knitting or reading with the head forward or angled, carrying heavy bags on your  shoulders, chronic stress, driving for long periods, pillow size....the list goes on.
*Stretches- This link is a good YouTube that will walk you through my favorite levator scapulae stretch. You should be doing this daily! Also, check out one of these apps for stretches on the go- Sworkit orSelect Stretch Trainer for more stretching videos and info.
*Helpful hints- This muscle needs lots of love. I'd like to believe that I can "fix" it in an hour and you'll never have a trigger point or pain in your levator scapulae again....but that's just not the case. If this muscle is a problem for you, it will need more work than just your monthly massage. Try this self-massage technique at home.
If adding some self massage and ice/heat doesn't help, talk to me and we can discuss what your specific problem may be so we can come up with a workable solution...changing your sleeping position, improving your work station, using a headset, carrying a backpack or purse differently,  and changing your posture.
April Means Earth Day!

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. Earth Day is a day in which events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day was created in 1970 and is now celebrated in more than 192 countries.

Here are a few fun ideas of things to do to recognize and celebrate our beautiful planet.

* 20 Earth Day Crafts and Activities  

*12 Things Kids Can Do to Make a Difference 

* Earth Day Cookies 

* 10 Earth Day Books for Kids 

*Or you could always hike, bike, plant, clean up, volunteer, etc!     

 Whatever you do to celebrate Earth Day, I hope you have fun playing, learning, creating and exploring our beautiful Earth.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." - Dr. Seuss 

Wishing you a sunshine-filled and pain-free April!  

Bryn Rath
Tranquil Massage
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