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Trapezius Muscle Pain

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The trepezius is a large muscle that helps with the rotation of the shoulders and impart movement to the overhead muscles, that is, neck. This large muscle is present at the back of the neck, spreads across the shoulder blades and goes down the upper vertebrae. Trapezius muscle pain is very common, especially in people who have desk jobs or work at the computer all day.

What is Trapezius Muscle Pain?

When the neck muscles feel pain and the pain radiates down to your shoulders causing muscle stiffness, then you probably are suffering from trapezius muscle pain.

In some people, it is the major cause of tension headache. Trapezius muscle may also lead to jaw pain, toothache as well as dizziness.

People who work with the computer may suffer from 'Mouse Shoulder'. This is a condition where the shoulder muscles are overused while operating the mouse. Trapezius muscle pain may also occur when people extend their arms for long periods of time when doing a task in front of them. This includes drivers, assembly line workers, cooks, etc.

Symptoms of Trapezius Muscle Pain

Feeling of tightness in the upper back, arms and neck, feeling of constant weight on the shoulder, pain that radiates in the neck, shoulders as well as back are all symptoms of trapezius muscle pain.

Causes of Trapezius Muscle Pain

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  • Stress that leads to a tensed body
  • Activities such as exercising, playing piano, bicycling, backpacking, etc.
  • Keyboards that are placed too high or too low on the desk or sitting on a chair that is too high or lower than the keyboard shelf
  • Placing phone on the shoulders and pinching the head to carry, it can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder also lead to back pain
  • Sleeping in the wrong posture can also lead to shoulder and neck pain
  • Hunching forward while breastfeeding may lead to trapezius pain in women
  • Wearing a too tight bra strap may cause back pain in women

Remedies To Ease Trapezius Muscle Pain

Trapezius muscle pain can be eased with some easy home remedies for trapezius pain. You can try:

  • Ice or heat compress to alleviate the tightness and pain. If there is any inflammation or swelling, ice compress will help with constriction of the blood vessels. Heat compress is great for relaxing muscles and helping then stretch.
  • You can even carry out simple home massage to ease the pain. You can lie down and gently knead the muscles that are painful. Place a pillow under your head that helps keep the spine straight.
  • You can even use a tennis ball and place it under the Trapezius muscle and lie down. Squeeze the ball with the help of the pressure of your body. Alternately, you can place the tennis ball against a door frame and message the tops of the shoulders by squeezing your body against the door frame with the tennis ball in the middle.
  • People who work in offices or have a  the desk job can try pinching the scapular. Just roll back the shoulders and push the shoulder blades together. One can even try the shoulder shrugs. Just raise your shoulders up to your ears and lower them back. Or rotate your neck right, pause and then rotate it left. Repeat. A side-bend neck by moving the head from left to right such that the ear touches the shoulder is also a good exercise to ease trapezius muscle pain.

If the trapezius muscle leads to a lot of discomfort and pain, visit a doctor. You may even try yoga or physical therapy to ease the pain. The modern lifestyle has lead to increase in the occurrence of trapezius muscle pain.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 06, 2015

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