This past weekend I went to the Lake Oswego Art Festival. It was nice to get out in the community and see what others are passionate about in life. It reminded me that this time of year is full of festivals and fun events to get out and enjoy within our own communities. Reconnecting with where you live, and the surrounding communities, is an important aspect in our lives. We all get caught up in our day to day lives and tasks, with our technology of smart phones, iPads, and T.V.s, that we sometimes forget to stop and look at what is around us to enjoy. Community events are also a great way to connect with local people in your area and to immerse yourself in other activities.
After I got home from the lovely afternoon outing, I decided to hop online and see what else is coming up that we can enjoy this summer. Boy is there a lot! The Portland-Metro area is full of fun events and festivals to attend. Some are free. Some cost a little bit, but all are a great way to step out of your routine and reconnect with your community and even the arts.
Here are a few upcoming events and festivals that I found in the area:
This time of year is also popular for both concerts and movies in the park. Many local neighborhood parks host local bands & artists for concerts, as well as displaying movies to watch for the whole family. Here are a couple of quick links for you to check out:
Of course, you always have all the local Farmers Markets too! Here is the most expansive list of Farmer’s Markets for the Portland-Metro area that I found: https://www.pdxparent.com/farmers-markets-portland-oregon/
There are so many more things that you may attend this summer. Whether it is a county or state fair, the Highland Games in Gresham, or exploring wine country, I encourage you to get out this summer and explore what your community and the surrounding neighborhoods have to offer! Get outside and reconnect with others. Do you live in the area? What are some of your favorite summertime local events to attend?
Have you ever woken up in the morning with a kink in your neck? Was it hard to rotate your head to one side? Did you feel the pain into your upper back? Well, this may have been your Levator Scapulae that was causing you all the pain.
Your Levator Scapulae (or Lev Scap for short) are the muscles on either side of your neck that originate at the top four vertebrae of your neck and connect down to the top of the inner angle of your scapula. As its name suggests, the Levator Scapulae elevates your scapula (shoulder blade). Think of the action of shoulder shrugs. It also rotates your neck to the same side as you look over your shoulder and bends your ear toward that same side of your shoulder. It helps stabilize your neck from falling forward when looking downward, as well.
Usually the Levator Scapulae causes you pain due to an overuse injury or strain. Some common ways that may cause your Lev Scap to start to cause you pain are:
If you find yourself with the kink in your neck and the pain is felt down into your rhomboid area of you upper back, it is most likely due to the Levator Scapulae being angry with you. There are some things you can do to help alleviate the pain. Most often, for muscle strains, you can:
Your Levator Scapulae may not be one of the biggest muscles in your body, but it sure can cause a lot of pain if it is out of sorts. For more severe or chronic neck pain issues, it may be best to see a chiropractor and have them examine to see if you need some manual manipulations of the cervical or upper thoracic spine. Misalignment in your bone structures and spine can cause your muscles to be strained and thus cause stiff neck pains. All these neck pains can cause poor sleeping, stress, and anxiety. Not to mention the limitations of movement in every day required activities! No one likes to wake up to a kink in their neck and have limited mobility. Do what you can to prevent your Lev Scap from acting up and address the issue right away when they do happen. Let’s keep that neck happy!
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.