How To Deal With A Trapezius Strain
A trapezius strain is very common in construction workers, mail carriers, weightlifters, restaurant servers and anyone else that constantly is carrying or lifting something heavy. The trapezius muscle plays a key function in carrying items because it is responsible for rotating the shoulder. The best way to deal with such an injury is to rest and ice it, then apply heat, followed eventually by stretching exercises.
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
The rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) method should be the first treatment method for nearly any type of muscle strain. Rest prevents any further injury from occurring to the muscle while the ice reduces pain and inflammation by narrowing the blood vessels which reduces the lymph and blood flow to the muscle.
Ice should always be applied to a trapezius strain within 48 hours of pain or inflammation. It is also important to keep the muscle elevated above your heart to reduce swelling which means to avoid laying flat down.
After the initial swelling has diminished, heat can be extremely helpful. You can either soak in a hot bath, Jacuzzi or apply a heating pad. The heat will increase the flow of blood to your injured muscle.
There are a few stretching exercise that can help your trapezius strain as well as strengthen the muscle to prevent further injury. It is a good idea to continue performing these exercises even after your injury has healed.
- Shrugs and Rolls – These are easy and effective exercises that you can perform anywhere. To begin you will shrug your shoulders, then release back down. Repeat 10 times. Then, you will roll your shoulders forward and then backward 10 times each way. Rest and repeat. These are excellent exercises for stimulating blood flow so that the injury can receive nutrients and oxygen to heal.
- Head Turns – Begin by turning your head to the left as far as you can and hold it for 10 seconds. Then, turn your head to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Perform 10 repetitions on both sides.
- Chin Rest – To complete this exercise, you will drop your head forward and rest your chin on your chest. You should feel a nice stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Head Tilt – Very gently, use your hand to tilt your head to the left so you are bringing your ear to your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds and then move to the other side. Repeat this trapezius strain exercise 10 times on either side.
Ibuprofen or any other type of anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve swelling and pain associated with your trapezius strain. These types of medications work by eliminating the production of prostaglandins in your body.
Topical creams such as Icy Hot and Bengay can be helpful in relieving pain as well. For a severe strain, your doctor may decide to administer a cortisone shot or prescribe you oral steroids.
Trapezius Muscle Strain Symptoms
- Neck Pain – If the trapezius muscle is strained repeatedly, it can result in chronic neck pain that is caused by trapezius myalgia.
- Soreness – An overall feeling of soreness can often be the result of armrests on chairs being too low, prolonged bending or extended drives.
- Tightness – When the muscle is constantly stressed, tightness will often be a result in the upper portion of your back. Many people describe this as a feeling of knots in the shoulders or back.
- Stiff Neck – Driving and sitting for extended periods of time, especially if you are concentrating on something such as the road, computer screen or video games can cause you to have a stiff neck.