The scalenes originate at the transverse processes of the cervical spine C2 to C7 and insert into the first and second ribs. These muscles are often associated as the direct stress response musculature for people in our culture. As people sit for hours on end, rounding their thoracic spine and eliciting stress patterns, the scalenes get a steady stream of stress oriented neural activity that will put them into a shortened state. A forward head posture will then come directly from this adaptation to a stationary environment.
This is one of the biggest problems with humans today and it highlights their inability to orient summation of forces into their functional movement patterns. Since the stress towards the scalenes is wired in as an immediate reaction, the rest of the body loses touch to the latency that would likely take place if it was responding to stress in nature.
Before stress goes to the neck, it is supposed to go in the legs, core and thoracic region. Disconnecting from this dysfunctional association will be essential towards bringing about an efficient stress response in the body. Releasing the scalenes will be one of the last steps in addressing this problem at its functional root. Integrated with other neck muscles in dysfunction, the scalenes will draw the neck into a forward and protracted position.
When releasing them, we enable a more stable and centered cervical spine. To get a release of this muscle that will last, it will be beneficial to have some thoracic activity as that will be the base of support for the cervical region to stack off of. This technique is maybe the most passive of all techniques due to the arteries and nerves found in the region. Although there may not be intense pain in the muscle when taking a passive approach, it will still be very effective in releasing the structures in the neck.
SCALENES SMR (THERACANE)
This Myofascial Release technique should be used in a very passive context. This means that the very little pressure should be administered to this region of the neck. It is recommended you see a good Neuromuscular Therapist and have the practitioner work on your scalenes so that you can build a reference point of how the muscle should feel when it is getting released.