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Trapezius Muscle - Cause of Neck Pain

Updated on August 19, 2013

Three Special Muscles of the Neck

The trapeziusm levator scapulae, and sternocleiodmastoid muscles are difficult to classify according to location. The trapezius is so large that is covers the upper back, the back of the neck, and part of both shoulders. The levator scapulae starts in the upper back, but wraps around to become part of the side of the neck. The sternocleidomastoid also wraps around the neck and could be seen as either part of either side or the front of the neck. Further, the unique multiple functions of these three muscles puts each in a class by itself.

I want to first begin about talking about these three special muscles of the neck by discussing the trapezius muscle. The word trapezius comes from the Greek word for a small table, which was named for the releative flatness and four corners of the muscle. Although the trapezius is located on the upper back and functions mainly to move the shoulder, it primarily causes headaches and neck pain.


Due to the overall size and function of the trapezius muscle it is common for this muscle to be involved with over use conditions that develop over time. The muscle has several distinct places where trigger points can develop. The very topmost fibers of the thick roll of muscle on top of the shoulder is one of these locations (adhesion zone #1). At this location in upper trapezius adhesions and trigger points can lead to pain in the temple, at the back corner of the jaw, down the side of the neck behind the ear, and even behind the eye. Occasionally, pain occurs in the back of the head. Most people have trapezius number one trigger points at one time or another. Their effects are most often identified as a tension headache. Trapezius adhesion zone number one is also a frequent cause of dizziness that is in distinguishable from that caused by trigger point in the sternocleidomastoid. Moreover it is capable of inducing secondary trigger points in the muscles in the temple in job, making it and indirect cause of job pain in toothaches.

Trapezius ahesion zone number two is deeper in the upper trapezius and sends pain to the base of the skull. This referred pain predictably induces secondary trigger points in the muscles of the back of the neck. When that muscles feel good but doesn't get rid of the pain, the pain maybe in the trapezius muscle, not the neck.

Trapezius adesion zone number three which is located at the bottom corner of the shoulder blade next to the spine also refers pain to the base of the school to a small place on the top of shoulder. This extremely common trigger point is located in the lower fibers of the trapezius at the lower in her edge of the shoulder blade is very easily missed. It's responsible for burning pain behind your shoulder blades that come after a long spell at the computer without elbow support. Such aches are very familiar to piano players, also hold her arms out in front of them for long periods of time unsupported. Although this trigger point is a long way from the neck, it's one of the many causes of a stiff neck. Richard appoints week in the lower trapezius muscles, they may cause the shoulder blades to stick out in the back, a condition called "winging scapula."

The symptoms generated by the trapezius trigger points and adhesions are widely misinterpreted. Trapezius adhesion zone number four occurs inner border of the shoulder blade in the broad middle part of the trapezius. Because a burning kind of pain nearby, alongside the spine. Superficial trigger points in this area can cause goosebumps on the back of the upper arm.

The symptoms generated by trapezius adhesions and trigger points are widely misinterpreted, producing a whole catalog of misdiagnoses and misdirected treatments. You may be told you have a spinal disk compression, spinal stenosis, bursitis of the shoulder, or neurology. Headaches caused by these adhesion zones maybe labeled as cervicogenic, vascular, cluster, or migraine when their true cause is not understood. Although there are serious medical causes of headaches, an examination for trigger points and adhesions should be in the top of any doctors list.


The trapezius covers most of the upper half of the back, extending upward to cover the central part of the back of the neck. The uppermost part of the trapezius is what gives the back end of the neck it's shape. The muscle attaches to the base of the skull, the spine, the collarbone, and the shoulder blades. The trapezius supports the weight of the shoulders much contract strongly to rotate the shoulder blade every time racer arms. Another primary function is to hold the shoulder blades solidly in place as a base for finer operations of the arm and hand.

The uppermost part of the trapezius help support the weight of the head and neck and you bet your head forward or to the side. Faulty posture, such as slumping while seated or habitually caring your head forward, places and unnecessary burden on your trapezius muscles, generating facial adhesions. Shortened pectoral muscles, indicated by rounded-shoulder posture, exert a constant pull on the shoulders that the trapezius muscles must constantly counteract. Another common cause of trapezius adhesions is emotional tension that keeps your shoulders up.

Any work of phyical activity that keeps the shoulders raised puts at risk of overuse. Triggerpoints are produced in all parts of the trapezius by job that requires working with the arms held in front of the body for extended periods of time. The constant contraction gives them no chance to rest and recover. You subject your trapezius muscles to constant strain when you sit without elbow support. At a computer or any other desk job, use a chair with arms whenever possible. It's not enough to rest your arms on the desk.

Lastly, heavy-breasted women maybe especially vulnerable to any of the many trapezius adhesion symptoms. The strain of supporting heavy breasts can make facial adhesions in the trapezius hard to get rid of. In addition constant use of a heavy backpack or a heavy purse hanging from a shoulder strap can be the simple explanation for chronic migraine or stiffnecked.

Get Rid of Lower Neck and Upper Shoulder Pain by Flossing the Spinal Accessory Nerve.

Once you watch this video you will be able release entrapments of the Spinal Accessory Nerve, which is commonly associated with shoulder and neck pain. This type of exercise (combined with other protocols) will help you to resolve even chronic injuries that have not responded to conventional therapy.

Spinal accessory nerve floss
The spinal accessory nerve (cranial nerve XI) is responsible for supplying the trapezus and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles. Compression / irritation to this nerve can result in pain at the lower front outside of the neck, top of the shoulder, and / or chronic tight neck muscles.

Brueggers Posture Relief: For Relaxing the Upper Trap
Performing this simple relaxation exercise will help to relax overactive upper trapezius muscles.

Other Squidoo Lens by Dr. Shepard

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If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder blade region, upper back tightness, or having weakness in your shoulder you might have what is referred to as s...

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      5 years ago

      Great lens

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      VigilantChef LM 

      5 years ago

      Awesome. I needed that. Thanks-very much, that was so helpful.


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