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Massage Focus: The trapezius muscle - a real pain in the neck.

Feeling tension and pain in your neck and shoulders? You're not alone. This is one of the most common complaints clients come to me with, and one I've experienced myself many times!

Diagram of the Trapezius Muscle
Trapezius Muscle

When your neck and shoulders feel tight, the muscle that might be calling out for help is most likely the trapezius.

The trapezius muscles extend from the mid-line of your back and spread out and up, like wings, or a kite. They start at the base of the skull, wing out across your shoulder blades (or scapulae), and then

descend down together to just below your lower rib. As you may have guessed from viewing the picture above, your trapezius muscles do a lot of work in moving your head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. Besides helping with movement of these areas of the body, the trapezius also helps to stabilize these areas, especially during weight bearing or pushing activities.

Now picture this, you've been sitting at your computer for awhile, or staring at your phone while playing Candy Crush, and your upper body has been fairly stable but your head is a bit thrust forward on your neck while you've been focusing on what you're doing. How do you think your head has managed to not fall onto your keyboard? It's cause of all the different muscles straining to keep it up, one of those being the big, strong, overworked trapezius.

A man sitting in nature rubbing his back.
A tight trapezuis muscle can make even the smallest movements painful. A real pain in the neck.

Most of us do some kind of work or play that requires us to focus on what's in front of us. Over time this puts a lot of strain on the trapezius muscle and it starts to get stretched and weak and tired. And it starts yelling at us! Time to take a minute, look up at the ceiling and give those trapezius muscles a break.

Oh, and schedule a massage!

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