February 25, 2024

As I wander through the butterfly pavilion today, I pause here and there to marvel at a particular species or unique color combination, my appreciation growing with each discovery. That is, until my neck starts to get sore. Oh, how I wish I knew a relaxation technique that would work for that peculiar muscle! Then it hits me – ah, my lateral cricoarytenoids! Of course, they are tense, and need some special attention.

And what better activity, since they lie in the general area of the neck, than yoga? After some research, I’ve come up with this deliciously beneficial sequence to relieve the soreness caused by this irritatingly small and rarely-acknowledged muscle group. Plus, it doesn’t take very much time, so I’m able to fit it into my schedule without distraction.

The exercise begins by lying flat on your back, eyes closed. Take some deep breaths and get settled into the position. Notice how the breath’s rhythm takes over, and how it slowly rises and falls with the inhales and exhales. Then, using both hands, gently massage the area around the lateral cricoarytenoids and the sides of the neck. Do this until you feel a bit of relief, then move on to the next part.

Now, raise your chin and tilt your head ever so slightly to one side. Beneath the ear, find the lateral cricoarytenoid and press lightly into it. The pressure will send a tingle that shouldn’t feel uncomfortable but simply remind you of the muscle’s presence. Hold the position for five seconds, then relax and repeat on the other side.

To complete the sequence, raise your chin and look to the ceiling. Tilt your head to one side and slowly drop the chin towards the shoulder. Be sure to use your head, not just the chin, to move. Hold the position for the same five seconds and switch sides. Use light, steady pressure of the chin into the shoulder, aiming to make the area around the lateral cricoarytenoid feel consistently warm.

Once this is done, your sore muscle should feel more relaxed and the pain should subside. However, if you’re in need of some extra relief, here are a few other natural remedies to try that have worked for me in the past: a heating pad, a muscle roller, adhesive tensor bands, and some essential oils. Try different combinations until you find what works best for you.

In no time at all, your stiff cricoarytenoid muscles will be feeling much more flexible and comfortable. And you can return to the butterfly pavilion with your mind at ease, adoring the colorful creatures in peace. 😉

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