“My upper trapezius is so tight!” – Should you keep pushing and prodding it to get rid of the “tightness”? Or do you actually need to strengthen it?
A lot of office workers or gym goers often complain that they feel all “knotted and tight” in their upper trapezius (UT) region. They go for massages and keep trying to find ways to push and prod on that spot in hopes that it will soften or go away, but can’t seem to find relief even with frequent massages.
The UT is an important muscle that moves and controls the shoulder blade. It elevates or “shrugs” the shoulder blade when you lift your arm and also stabilizes the shoulder blade when you do arm movements like typing or writing. A very common posture we see in people coming in for UT “tightness” is a depressed (lowered) or protracted (hunched forward) shoulder blade, and this is usually associated with a rotated posture somewhere else in the body. This causes the UT and other neck/shoulder muscles to become imbalanced. Some get “switched off” while some (often the UT) go into “overdrive”, and that’s why the UT gets all grumbly and “tight”.
So, if you want to “loosen” your UT, pushing and prodding it won’t give you lasting relief, rather correcting the primary cause (be it strengthening weak shoulder/neck muscles, correcting trunk/spine position to facilitate better muscle recruitment, reducing tone in true hypertonic muscles) provide long term recovery. Addressing external contributions like desk and computer station set up to reduce reaching forward to use your mouse all day will stop that sustained posture from giving the UT so much grief.
If you are getting neck/shoulder pain in the upper traps region and have tried massaging or stretching to no avail, if you need to see a physio and don’t have your own I work from my home in Belrose 3 days a week or if more convenient come to the city.