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Trapezius Muscle Strain

Smita Pandit
The trapezius muscle is a large and wide superficial muscle of the back of the neck, shoulders, and the upper section of the chest. It is named so due to its trapezoid shape. This write-up provides information about the circumstances under which this muscle may get strained.
The trapezius muscle extends from the base of the neck to the back and stretches across the back of the shoulders. These two triangular muscles form a diamond or trapezoid-like shape, hence the name. It is divided into upper, middle, and lower fibers.
This muscle allows us to tilt and turn the head and neck. It helps to elevate, depress, rotate, and retract the shoulder blades. Repeated stress injuries can cause this muscle to get strained, which would give rise to an aching sensation or pain between the shoulder blades. One may also find it hard to shrug or rotate the shoulders.

Causes and Symptoms

This muscle can get strained, if the tendons and ligaments of the neck and the shoulders get damaged due to accidents or repeated stress injuries. the muscle can get strained due to repeated stress injuries that cause overstretching or tearing of the ligaments.
Strain on the neck and upper back due to poor posture is often the reason in case of individuals with jobs that require them to sit in front of a computer for long periods. Whiplash injuries, wherein the head snaps forward rapidly and then back, could also be a contributing factor.
Lifting heavy weights or carrying heavy backpacks can lead to this problem. You must also pay attention to your sleeping posture. Many people sleep in the wrong posture or use very fluffy pillows. This can also cause soreness in shoulders and neck muscles.
If this muscle gets strained, one is most likely to experience neck pain and shoulder pain. If ignored, it might lead to formation of knots in back or shoulders. In case, you are experiencing soreness and a burning sensation in the muscle, try to identify the factors responsible for causing trapezius muscle strain.

Treatment Options

If you have to sit in front of your computer for long periods, make sure that you adjust the monitor and keyboard properly. Don't sit in the same position for a long time. Take breaks and do light stretches. You can also do exercises for neck muscles even when you are at work.
Sit upright on the chair and perform light neck rotations, neck side-bending, shoulder shrugs, and shoulder raises every now and then. If you have been experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, refrain from performing any activity that can aggravate the symptoms.
You must take proper rest. If there is swelling or inflammation, you can have someone place an ice pack on the affected area. This will help in reducing the swelling. Another option is to use a heating pad. The heat will facilitate better circulation and quicker healing.
Though you must take proper rest, a light neck and shoulder massage will certainly help. Reach back with your hand and move your fingers in a rhythmic circular motion over the muscle. You must massage on both sides evenly. Be gentle and make sure that you are not putting too much pressure.
When you press on the trigger points, you will surely be able to ease the discomfort to some extent. If you have been using a very fluffy pillow, replace it soon. Make sure that your sleeping posture is right. If it still hurts, consult a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy sessions will surely help in restoring the range of motion and strengthening this muscle.
The next time you sit in front of your computer, make sure that your posture is right. Keep the muscles relaxed and don't slouch. If you have been experiencing pain in this muscle, massage it gently. If a massage and hot compresses don't help, consult a physiotherapist soon.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.