The trapezius muscle is a triangular shaped muscle at the bottom of your neck. It spans the width of your shoulders, attaches into your mid back (thoracic spine), and into the base of your skull. The Trapezius is a key muscle that works to move your shoulders and your neck.
It is often difficult to differentiate between where upper trapezius pain or is coming from, especially when it comes to the neck and the shoulder. Many structures in that area can contribute to pain at one or multiple locations.
There are several causes of upper trapezius pain and can include soft tissue injury from a fall/strain/tear, whiplash from a motor accident, poor posture, repeated motions (especially overhead), impingement ( can often lead to neural symptoms down the arm) and bursitis .
What can an injury to the trapezius cause?
- Limited mobility, decreased range of motion or muscle weakness (you may not be able to shrug your shoulders or raise your arm).
- Neck and shoulder pain and stiffness.
- Pain between the shoulder blades.
- Swelling, bruising or tenderness in your shoulders, neck or back.
- Trapezius muscle pain.
What will the physiotherapist recommend?
Our physiotherapists can usually diagnose trapezius muscle problems during a physical examination. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the physiotherapist may recommend:
- Acupuncture: Dry needling and acupuncture can relieve pain and tightness in the trapezius.
- Massage therapy: Massage can help you recover from or prevent a traps injury by increasing flexibility and relaxing tight muscles.
- Rest: Minor muscle strains and tears can heal with rest. You may need to avoid certain activities, such as bending, lifting your arms or shrugging your shoulders. Drink plenty of water to keep your muscles hydrated.
- Stretching programme: To try and relieve any muscle tension that could be contributing to the pain.
At Home Physio Group, our physiotherapists can create a custom program for you if you have upper trapezius pain. For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.