How to Stretch the Levator Scapula Neck Muscles


The levator scapula neck muscles function to lift the shoulder blades up towards the ears. These muscles help the shoulders relax and are often the culprit when someone complains of a stiff neck. The levator scapula neck muscles require very careful exercises for a proper stretch.Many people never perform the following levator scapula neck muscle stretching exercises until after they have injured the muscle.

Things You'll Need

  • Pillow
  • Straight backed chair
  • Sit on a chair with a straight back. Grip the seat with your right hand. Place your left hand on your head and gently pull forward and to the opposite side. Hold the position for ten seconds. Repeat for the other side. You should feel the stretch along the neck and into the levator scapula neck muscle.

  • Sit on a chair at a table with a pillow on the tabletop. Turn your head sideways to the right and place it on the pillow. Hug the pillow with your arms. Relax the shoulders to feel the stretch through the neck and levator scapula. Hold for a ten count and repeat five times on each side.

  • Stretching the levator scapula neck muscles while standing is possible with a slight variation of the step 1 instruction. Stand with feet should width apart. Let your left arm hand straight down and use your other hand to grasp your head. Gently pull forward slightly and to the opposite side. Hold for a 10 count and repeat for the other side.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you experience neck pain that lasts for more than a few days, see a doctor.
  • These exercises need to be performed carefully. It’s possible to injure the muscle by stretching to vigorously.
  • Never bounce or pull when stretching.
  • Never stretch to the point of pain.

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