Neck tension when wearing a heavy coat

Your pain pattern,
What aggravates it,
How to get relief,
and more…

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

People complain about pain in the upper neck that makes them irritable. The pain that extends down toward the shoulder is often described as tension. They describe things that aggravate it but seldom are able to describe the incident that created the injury. There are other trigger points that produce pain in that area, so I always ask more questions to narrow it down before I start the physical examination.

People with sensory processing disorder seem pleasantly surprised pleased when I ask them if a heavy coat bothers them. They are glad to find someone who understands their sensitivity instead of dismissing it. (This is opposed to the sensory defensive clients that are looking for heavy pressure from clothing to calm them) This aggravating tension can make it difficult to focus when shoulders are not properly supported at the computer.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

When asked when it bothers them the most, they may say that it bothers them while carrying a travel bag in each hand. They may also complain that it bothers them while holding their shoulders up to type on a desk that is too high or hold the top of the steering wheel. Athletic people may complain that it bothers them when carrying dumbbells during exercises like lunges.

I’ve also had this pattern when I carry a child on my shoulders for a while. In cases like this, the tension is achy and aggravating. This trigger point aggravates the sympathetic ganglion so that releasing it gives a great deal of relief from anxiety.

These people, even when they don’t identify as having Sensory Processing Disorder will see unreasonable about not wearing a coat, snug fitting suit or backpack as it really aggravates them in a way that they have trouble explaining.

This trigger point can be chronically aggravated by Forward-Head Posture.

The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

This pain comes out of that bright orange section of the trapezius along the top of the shoulder. It is a complex muscle with separate sections that, at times, do very different things. This post discusses anatomy in more detail.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Recommendations.

This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.

Treatment Notes for Therapists

Better Bodywork,
Through Shared Expertise.

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.

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.

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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