An Introduction to Trapezius Pain Relief

I’m willing to bet that upper trapezius pain is one of the most common “nagging” pains we have in the western world. However, we usually don’t call it upper trapezius pain, but more often neck pain, upper back pain, or shoulder pain. Sound familiar? If you’re reading this page you’ve probably found it because you’re searching for answers. Possibly, “What is trapezius pain?” or maybe even more generally “What is the trapezius?” Not only are we broadly confused about trapezius pain, but we want answers and find ourselves asking “How can I relieve upper trapezius pain?” or “Who can help me with trapezius pain?” For a complaint so common there’s surprisingly little content addressing it. Let’s change that. Let’s dig in, and get some answers.

When Neck Pain, Upper Back Pain, and Shoulder Pain is ACTUALLY Trapezius Pain

Like I said previously, from my hands on experience (with thousands of patients) these seemingly separate complaints are often ACTUALLY trapezius pain, known in the medical world as trapezius myalgia…

Trapezius – The specific name of he muscle. Myalgia – A term meaning muscle pain. (The -algia ending added to any muscle, joint or region signifies there’s pain there.)

The reason trapezius pain gets so many common names is because the trapezius is a gigantic muscle. The trapezius muscle is so large that it even has sub-categories: upper trapezius, middle trapezius, and lower trapezius. While all these are continuous with each other and technically make up one muscle, they have distinct characteristics. The regions of the muscle differ in their thickness, fiber direction, attachments to the skeleton, actions, strength, and so forth.

Don’t get me wrong, neck pain, upper back pain, and shoulder pain can have plenty of other causes. The trapezius muscle is not the end all be all, but it’s almost always involved in some way. Trapezius myalgia may not be the “official” diagnosis, but it has a role in whatever is bothering you. It’s a culprit, and addressing the trapezius muscle will almost always yield improvement in discomfort no matter what the diagnosis.

Trapezius Muscle Stretches – A Step in the Right Direction

Stretching the trapezius muscle is a great first step to address trapezius muscle pain, tightness, and dysfunction. For goodness sake, stretch it first before you take any more drastic or invasive steps. Invest in yourself and be accountable for your body’s discomfort – it is speaking to you! The trapezius muscle is easy to stretch, you don’t need to be athletic to do it, and stretching can bring a lot of relief. To put it simply, tight trapezius muscles are sick, unhappy, and irritated muscles. Stretching is valuable, in fact, much of yoga’s value lies in that it involved active and passive stretching.

What do Trapezius Muscle Stretches do?

Trapezius muscle stretches to lengthen the muscle fibers and associated fascia. The stretches also push your joints towards their end ranges of motion and improve joint mobility. If you have trapezius pain, most of the time you have tight muscles, dysfunctional fascia, and immobile joints surrounding the area. Understanding muscle physiology is an undertaking of its own, but know that stretching has a profound effect on your tissues and joints. Your trapezius muscles become shortened or “tight and stiff” over long periods of time. Tissue deformation is a long process and you may not notice terrible effects until they have reached a critical moment. If you have pain you’re at this moment. It’s time to stretch and fight your dysfunctional muscles, they’re begging you to let them return to a healthy length and state.

Learn these Trapezius Stretches

These trapezius stretches are designed to target the trapezius muscle and increase the length of the muscle fibers. Be patient, just like your trapezius muscle issues didn’t develop overnight, they won’t be solved overnight. Being a consistent trapezius stretcher is the key. Do them all the time, stretch the tissues, deform them, make them obey!