Table of Contents
- Activities to Avoid or Change
- For Temporary Relief
- Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief
- Yoga Corner
Here, you will self-care relief for the middle trapezius. It has two pain patterns. You can read about them in these posts about the pain patterns and things that aggravate them. First, it creates irritating tags and burning between the shoulder blades. Second, it creates a sore top of the shoulder near the tip from straps and reaching up.
Activities To Avoid or Change:
Sitting up straight was good advice from your parents. The post below is excellent for helping you figure out the best set-up and accessories.
This problem almost always involves sitting with your shoulder hiked up for long periods. Really, this is chronic tension that is just looking to be aggravated by a jerk on the shoulder or a particularly long day bent over the computer.
This post offers some great self-care ideas for actively sitting without support or sitting with supports that help you avoid pain and fatigue. There are also suggestions about a few useful accessories.
Make It a Point to Move
Simply move more. So, get your arms off the armrests, drop your shoulders, and go somewhere. Many of my clients get the standing desk suggested in the post on seated posture.
Set a timer across the room for 20 minutes, every time you sit down. I use my Fitbit, which reminds me to get up every hour, even if I haven’t set a timer. If you have an Apple Watch or some other smartwatch, set an app to make sure that you move. Anyway, for less than $200 you can start changing this shoulder problem.
You might get one of these ball chairs so that you squirm and fidget. Years of research into sensory processing show that squirming and fidgeting really do help your concentration. Make sure that it is big enough to get your elbows above the desk. Again, check the post on desk ergonomics and seated posture.
For Temporary Relief:
Stretch in a Hot Shower
A hot shower across the upper back with stretching the arm down and across will offer some relief. Reach down and forward so that you slide the shoulder blade away from the spine. This picture shows the position of the stretch. Additionally, I have my head tilted away for a little more stretch on the upper trapezius. You may feel the itchy pain of the irritating tags as you stretch.
Beforehand, do a little neck stretching, which will release faster and stretch more comfortably. Not convenient to shower? A little ice-and-stretch is effective without irritating the skin. Even better, do the breathing exercise listed below.
In this section, I often discuss some vapocoolant patch that helps to release the trigger point. In this case, hot/cold will sometimes aggravate irritable skin. Instead, try an analgesic like this Aspercreme with lidocaine. It is more likely to offer relief without irritation.
These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or not responding to these simple suggestions.
Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:
An Effective Start
The exercise in this post is the place to start. It is surprisingly effective at strengthening the muscles that lower shoulders and releasing muscles like the middle trapezius that keep them high and tight.
Following that, you can extend your self-care for those irritating tags. Ease into the next step with one of the yoga poses below.
Like to really boost your progress?
Chest dips on chairs develop those muscles that lower the shoulders. This guy does a great job on several important points:
- his shoulders drop to get his collar bone level
- his arms are slightly in front of his body to open his traps
- he presses his shoulder blades down and forward
On one hand, he’s a little shaky and could drop down further for fuller chest development. For this objective, the reps are very effective.
I’d love your feedback on how this works for you and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lengthen with a Twist
This is a nice relaxing pose for gently releasing middle traps. So, hold it for 90 seconds to 3 minutes on each side. Holding it longer creates a “positional release” of the shoulder that is back. At the same time, the front shoulder gets some gentle lengthening.
If you check Google for images of the upward-facing dog, you’ll see that it is a very popular pose. So, look at the position of the collarbone. Check to see if it gets level as the head rises and the abdomen lengthens. For the effective release of the middle traps, that’s what you want. This gal does a great job.
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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.
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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.