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Video Highlights

-- Stretches for the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and scalene muscles
-- How to use your eyes to change muscular and nerve tension
-- How to use a massage tool for additional benefit

Hi. I’m Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance. Today, we are continuing on our work on carpal tunnel syndrome by looking at muscles around the neck.

If you are new to Z-Health, we are a brain-based education company working with doctors, therapists, and coaches all around the world. In ninety countries, we just found out, or ninety plus countries.

So if you’re interested in this, Subscribe to the channel. Check out all of our free resources as well as our education. Alright. So last time I talked about carpal tunnel syndrome at length, we talked about stats, etcetera, and we started ideas about what you can do to help manage carpal tunnel issues on your own. Whenever we think about this, we have to work at the neck. because the nerves begin here and they work their way down through the arm. So last time we worked on some just basic joint mobilization in the neck. Today, we’re gonna look specifically at three different muscles. When we do any of the muscular work, we’re gonna be doing a little bit of stretching, but I don’t really like to have people do significantly strong static stretching because remember we talked about being graded, being careful as we go through these approaches. So I want you to use a lot of awareness as you go through these exercises.

And I’m gonna show you a couple little things that we can do from our brain-based side. that may be helpful. First exercise we’re gonna work on is for the trapezius muscle, upper trapezius. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna allow the arm that has a problem to hang by our side. We’re going to pull the scapula, your shoulder blade, pull it down toward the ground just a little bit.

So I’m imagining that I’m driving my hand down my pants leg.

Now from here, what I need to do is I need to tilt my head away gently.

I need to flex my head forward like I’m gonna look at the ground, but now I’m gonna look up at the ceiling. Once I’m in this position, I should feel a nice stretch along that upper trapezius.

Now, like I said, I want this to be gentle, so here’s a cool thing that you can do. You’re gonna get into position. So again, slide down, tilt away, flex the head forward, look up at the ceiling.

Once I have that stretch, I’m now gonna use my eyes. If I look up that usually will take tension off the muscle, If I look down, you should feel tension increasing the muscle.

This is due to some reflexes in terms of how our eyes and body work together.

So I like to have my clients get into this position, and then they’re gonna look up and down, up and down, up and down ten times.

Usually, by the fourth or fifth repetition, you’ll start to feel some significant differences in the amount of tension in that upper trap.

So give that one a shot first. From there, we’re going to go to another muscle. It’s called levator scapulae.

For this one, we’re gonna begin in the same way. We’re going to depress the scapulae.

We’re gonna just gonna let our hand slide down, let our shoulder blade follow.

We’re now going to tilt away just like we did before. We’re going to flex just like we did before. Here’s the big difference. I’m gonna look down to the floor.

So now I’m rotating away. So repeating that again, depress a scapula, tilt away, flex the head, rotate away.

Again, in this position, I can play with the amount of head flexion I have etc, but I again like to use the eyes up and down to moderate the tension a little bit.

Our third exercise then is for a group of muscles called the scalene muscles. For this one, we’re gonna do this one a little bit differently. We are going to do a little bit of shoulder depression. But from here, instead of tilting my head forward, I’m gonna tilt my head back a little bit.

So I’m gonna depress my shoulder, slide that hand down, tilt my head back, tilt my head away, and then look to the ceiling again. And you’re gonna feel that right through here. Alright.

So once again, drive down, tilt back a little bit, tilt away, look up to the ceiling, and now I’m gonna feel that typically in the side of my neck.

I can do my same up and down motions with my eyes and that will drive a little bit of tension and relaxation, tension and relaxation, which I find for people with carpal tunnel issues to be much safer than having you really try to tug the head over, use your opposite hand, drive the shoulder blade down more actively.

I want this to be a more relaxed version of a stretch. and usually ten up and down motions is gonna keep us there for ten to twenty seconds, which is pretty much ideal.

Now, if all of those are very tight for you, I then want you to grab your handy-dandy massager. Alright? 

This is our little unit from Jawku, which we love. You’re gonna turn it on. You’re gonna hold it in the hand. opposite the side that you’re stretching. Right? So think about the muscle that was most tight for you. 

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For me, that was probably my scalenes.

So if I were to now go through that same scalene motion again, drive the shoulder blade down, tilt my head back, tilt away, look up at the ceiling, Often, if I add some sensory stimulus in the opposite side of the body, I will be able to stretch a little bit more, a little bit more comfortably and the eye movements themselves will probably not induce as much tension either.

This is based off just some kind of basic wiring patterns and how our brain and body work together. So these are great ways that I found that really start to get you into that graded exercise approach.

These muscles are important. We may need to get them to relax a little bit to decrease tension on that carpal tunnel.

But rather than getting in there and doing really difficult or intense stretching, use the eyes, and utilize that opposite side vibration as a great way to get started.

Remember to keep notes on this in your irritation journal the following day, and let us know how it works for you. Good luck.

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