Self Care – Neck tension when wearing a heavy coat

Self-Care includes
Activities to avoid and change,
Strategies for quick relief,
Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…


Activities To Avoid or Change:

Once the trigger point is activated, there are a number of known activities that keep it aggravated. A backpack, ill-fitted bra straps, a tight coat or shoulder bag will press into this area and are known irritants and create additional microtrauma. Using a cane that is badly fit is cited as a problem. I find it to be more likely, especially with middle-aged clientele, that leaning on the bars of a treadmill when fatigued aggravates it.

Activities that tilt and twist the neck strongly also agitate this trigger point. Twisting to the side to tend to a child in a car, playing a violin or, for one client, twisting quickly to answer his wife while sitting at the dinner table.

It could get aggravated if your kid hugs your neck like this but it’s probably worth it.


For temporary relief:

A patch of Salonpas will offer relief if it still aggravates you. These medium-sized patches are the right size to cover Tat green asterisk on the trapezius muscle. These have lidocaine which is an analgesic that helps to calm the local irritation. They are available locally or on Amazon.


Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:

Sitting for long periods with your elbows elevated can shorten the muscle so it is aggravated when the elbows are not supported. This is more complicated as serratus posterior, levator scapula and other muscles get involved. This breathing exercise is a great countermeasure and leaves the entire head and neck more relaxed. Follow up with these doorway stretches if you have shoulders that are pulled forward.

This muscle contributes to Forward-Head posture. It becomes short and strong. Once the head has become imbalanced, this muscle is supported to become shorter and stronger.

If you have Forward-Head Posture, review this collection, especially the self-care exercise Tuck, Tilt, Turn and Lift.



Yoga Corner

The upper trapezius lifts the collar bone and pulls the shoulder back, so twisting poses tend to stretch one side of the trapezius while lengthening the other.

Seated and lunging poses that twist to stretch hip rotators can work well for the upper trapezius. The back shoulder is closer to the base of the head and spine, contracting the upper trapezius on that side. The front shoulder drops down and slides around the ribs away from the base of the head, stretching the upper trapezius on that side.

This problem can perpetuate more than neck tension. It is known for making people irritable by referring into the sympathetic ganglion. It is often associated with sensory integration dysfunction. Topical patches can offer short term relief but it is important for those clients to get lasting relief. A coat can be a needed form of deep pressure that helps with regulation to modulate sensory processing. This is often perpetuated by binding joints in the upper neck and shoulder. Your bodyworker can work with the underlying problems for lasting relief.


Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…

Does another Self-Care post
better match your pain?

Here is the post about the trigger point pattern associated with these Self-Care activities.

Look at the posts tagged for upper neck, top of the shoulder and sensory integration.


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

Can’t Reach the Pain
Under the Shoulder Blade

This pain and tension under the shoulder blade may be the most common pain pattern that I see. It isn’t always the primary complaint as people have gotten used to the constant ache.

It is usually combined with this pattern in the upper neck, which creates upper neck tension to go with the shoulder blade pain.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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