Shoulder Pain – Trapezius Myalgia?

Trapezius Myalgia is simply chronic muscular pain of the trapezius muscle.

Trapezius Chelsea Natural Health

There are three divisions of the trapezius, (upper, middle and lower). The muscle starts off from the back of the head, (occiput) and runs down the spine, (C1-T12) and across to the shoulder region, (clavicle, acromion and scapula). The trapezius is supplied by the accessory nerve and spinal nerves, (C3 and C4).

The neck and shoulder areas are one of the most common used parts of your body. Overuse and improper support of the muscles in this region can have an impact in more ways than one.

Symptoms of Trapezius Myalgia:

  • Headaches;
  • Neck pain;
  • Shoulder pain;
  • Jaw pain;
  • Stiff neck;
  • Burning pain in the shoulder and arm;
  • Tingling/Numbness down the arm and/or into the hand.

Causes of Trapezius Myalgia:

Posture and Daily Activities: Injury alone does not cause pain. Your daily living activities and poor posture may gradually cause wear and tear on your neck joints, (cervical spine) leading to increased tightness around your shoulder and trapezius muscles.

Computer Work: Sitting at a desk and working on a computer for an extended period of time with protracted shoulders and/or viewing a monitor which is not at eye level height may cause stress and tension in the trapezius muscles, thus leading to headaches, (according to the Science Daily, January 2008).

The report also claims that women are more likely to suffer from chronic neck pain than men.

Our advice is to take a break every 30 minutes from your computer! A good trick is to set a timer a few feet away from you that will go off every 30 minutes making you get up and reset it.

Backpack: Carrying a heavy backpack or purse over one shoulder puts extra tension on the trapezius, which can cause soreness. Alternating shoulders, carrying two bags in each hand, (as opposed to the shoulders) or simply wearing a backpack in the correct fashion; i.e. On both shoulders alleviates stress on the trapezius muscle.

Whiplash: Traumatic injury such as whiplash can cause a sore trapezius muscle. During an accident or injury, the head is snapped backwards and then forwards, straining the trapezius muscles and causing neck pain. Whiplash can be caused by road accidents, physical abuse or contact sports. Your posture at the time of the accident influences how the trapezius muscle is affected. If you have good posture, the muscle is less likely to be affected as the stabilization system of the body responds quickly and efficiently.

Tension or Stress: Women perceive life to be more stressful and suffer more from neck pain than men, (according to a 2010 study at the University of Gothenburg). Tension or stress in the head leads to compressed bones and joints, which leads to decreased blood flow to the neck muscles and the trapezius, causing tightness and discomfort.

Repetitive Stress Injury, (RSI): RSI is a condition that places too much stress on joints or muscles, for example, by talking on the phone whilst holding the phone between the ear and shoulder.

Incorrect Cane Height: Using a cane of incorrect height may cause strain on the trapezius. Picking up a used cane at a flea market or a unique one at a festival may do more harm than good if it is too short.

Complications of Trapezius Myalgia:

Prevention or early treatment is crucial. If left unresolved, muscular stress in the neck, shoulder and trapezius may indeed lead to Prolapsed Disc and Cervical Spine Spondylosis/Osteoarthritis.

Treatment for Trapezius Myalgia:

Treatment typically involves assessing the optimum pillow height for the patient as well as joint articulation, mobilization or manipulation, depending on the patient and preference of technique. Muscular relaxation techniques are also employed using a variety of methods, with custom prescribed strengthening and stretching exercises given as homework.

Most conditions are treated with gentle, non-invasive techniques designed to help improve blood circulation and drainage of waste products and accumulated toxins. Patients may find relief from pain and discomfort through conservative treatments and hot/cold therapy.

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