Levator Scapulae Dysfunction Treatment

Levator Scapulae Dysfunction is a painful condition causing tension and reduced range of movement in the shoulder and neck.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment of levator scapulae dysfunction aims to:

What is levator scapulae dysfunction?

The shoulder has a pair of muscles on either side of the neck called the levator scapulae, they attach to the tops of the scapula (shoulder blades). These muscles are responsible for elevating the shoulder, rotating the scapula and help the neck bend backwards, overall ensuring stability and optimal movement. Levator scapulae dysfunction refers to pain and tenderness felt at and around the levator scapulae muscles.

Question mark

What are the causes?

Levator scapulae dysfunction is a common muscle complaint, with general causes likely to include:

  • Poor posture – hunched positions can overstretch and strain the levator scapulae muscles.
  • Cervical spine dysfunction – injuries to the neck or upper spinal column and nearby structures.
  • Repetitive movement – overuse of shoulder and arm muscles;
    • Can be triggered by activities like tennis, swimming or throwing sports
  • Stress/anxiety – muscle tension and stiffness
  • Pressure on shoulder – carrying a bag with straps only on one shoulder
  • Sleeping position – sleeping on stomach with the head turned

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain – mild to moderate; dull, achy, deep
    • Neck pain (can cause headaches)
    • Shoulder blade
  • Stiffness/inability to move the neck or shoulder
  • Tenderness
  • Reduced range of movement – neck/arms
  • Swelling/inflammation
  • Muscle spasms and/or weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased muscle tone
Reducing Muscle Tension

Treatment for levator scapulae dysfunction

If you suspect you have a levator scapulae dysfunction, it is important to see a medical professional. You will likely be referred for imaging tests to determine the extent of the condition.


Physical therapy is highly beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

If the pain and reduced movement is severe, driving and strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck support or a suitable pillow.

How to book an appointment?

If you have this condition, or you’re looking for a ‘physiotherapist near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by levator scapulae dysfunction? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

Contact us for more information on treatment

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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