The body has two large, triangular upper trapezius muscles which connect the neck to the shoulder and continue down to the shoulder blade. The upper portion of the trapezius muscle refers to the area between the back of the neck and the top of the shoulder. These skeletal muscles are essential in supporting movement of the head and shoulders, which make them susceptible to everyday strain and overuse. As a result, the trapezius muscle is a common area for RSI, or reoccurring stress injury. Many daily activities can cause an upper trapezius strain, resulting in frequent pain if it is left untreated and measures are not taken to prevent it in the future.
- Sitting in a certain position for too long. Looking at a computer, reading, or especially holding a phone between the ear and shoulder for long periods will tighten the upper trapezius
- Poor posture, like slouching, will strain the upper trapezius
- Sleeping with a pillow that elevates the head too much or does not support the head enough will strain the spine and upper trapezius muscle
- Repetitive and strenuous motions will easily strain the upper trapezius muscle. These include athletic movements like swimming strokes or golf swings, or work that require the arms to be raised above the head often, like painting or electrician work.
- Constant, aching pain in the neck and shoulders
- Tension headaches
- Pain upon moving arms overhead or lifting
- Tenderness with pressure to the area
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR
UPPER TRAPEZIUS STRAIN
An upper trapezius strain can be successfully treated and prevented with Physical Therapy. Stretching and massaging the trapezius muscles will release tension, increasing flexibility, and decreasing inflammation. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises that will strengthen the muscles that support the spine and shoulder blades. This will help facilitate better posture and spinal alignment.
In addition, your therapist will review proper workplace ergonomics and lifting mechanics to prevent further strain and injury.