How Do You Relieve Upper Trapezius Pain?

I’ve started a new series where I’ll focus on a specific muscle group in the body each month. You’ll learn about why these muscles are important and gain tips and tricks for keeping them strong, loose and performing optimally. Today’s topic is the upper trapezius, otherwise known as the stabilizer to your shoulder blade. I hear my clients talk about upper trapezius pain so through a deeper understanding of what’s causing that pain, you can start to find some relief.

The upper trapezius is the top 1/3 of the trapezius muscle (other parts are the mid trap and low trap). All parts of this muscle are important in moving and stabilizing the shoulder blade however, the mid and low trap are often under-utilized and weak because they are smaller muscles. In contrast, the upper trap is a big muscle that is easily recruited, so it often gets overworked.

What Causes Upper Trapezius Pain?

Have you ever felt your shoulders tense and rise up towards your ears? This is the upper trap at work! This shoulder position is common when you are under stress, and is another way the upper trap gets sore and painful. Do you sit at a desk all day hunched over your computer? This could also be a primary cause of the pain you’re experiencing! 

What Can You Do to Stretch the Upper Trapezius?

Upper trapezius stretches can help ease some of that pain and tension. To stretch the upper trap, tilt your head towards your shoulder. Place the same-side-hand on your head to give a little extra pull into the stretch.

Is there a muscle you want to learn more about? Comment below and I’ll be sure to queue it up!

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Dr. Stephanie Duffey

We Help Motivated Women Feel Physically Amazing So They Can Be Active, Empowered, And Energized Without Frustrating Pain Or Injury.