You might not know exactly where it is, but you most likely have experienced pain and strain in your Trapezius muscle. Maybe you just started working out. Maybe you swim or play tennis. Perhaps you are carrying heavy objects or been sit in one position for a long period of time. Maybe you’re just stressed. All these activities can cause your traps to tighten.
The Trapezius has three areas: upper, middle and lower. The muscle stretches from the top of your neck, out to your shoulders and a little more than half way down the center of your back.
This huge muscle performs many different functions, including moving shoulder blades in toward the spine, rotating and moving shoulder blades up and down, bringing the head and neck backward, and rotating and side bending the neck. It also assists in breathing, opening up the small amount of breathing room in the upper chest area.
For people who work at desks and computers, or who spend many hours driving, the upper trapezius is the muscle on top of your shoulder that becomes very sore and painful.
Traps get tight naturally and while that tightness isn’t usually serious enough to see a doctor, it may be significant enough to influence your exercise routine and overall well-being.
So what’s the answer to tight traps? Try self-massage. You can massage yourself by rolling a ball or foam roller across your traps. Try using a tennis ball and rolling around until you feel a tender spot, then slightly push and hold for about 90 seconds until you feel some release. Repeat this until the muscle feels better. If this isn’t working that well, it’s time for the big guns. A therapeutic massage.
If you really want lasting, deep relief, book an appointment for a sports or targeted therapeutic massage and time it to follow your activities. A skilled therapist will use trigger point therapy, deep tissue and other massage modalities to ease tension, accelerate blood flow in the muscle and cause the muscle to relax. And the therapist can work the entire muscle, including the “helper” muscle groups around it, to ensure the effects of the massage will last longer.