Trapezius Pain: Prevent the Severe Muscle Soreness!

The upper trapezius is often blamed for pain of all kinds and varieties, such as with neck pain, upper back pain and shoulder pain. Pain and soreness in the trapezius is such a common complaint in my Los Angeles practice, and yet focusing solely on the trapezius muscle is a mistake when seeking upper trapezius pain relief, especially when pain is severe! What’s perceived as trapezius pain is generally actually pain derived from larger big picture issues such as posture, nerve compression and muscular imbalances.

The trapezius is a large muscle covering the region from the back of the skull, down to the scapular and down to the mid back. Its actions are mainly involved with tilting the head and movement of the scapula. It’s an important muscle for the stability of the scapula and weakness of the inferior fibers can create scapular winging and shoulder pain.

All that considered, the trapezius muscle isn’t usually the main source of severe pain in the upper back and neck! Pain in soreness in the upper trapezius area is usually related to deeper structures of the neck such as the nerves, connective tissue and discs.

Trapezius Pain: Prevent the Severe Muscle Soreness!

Main causes for Trapezius Pain

  • The human head on average weights 11 lbs or 5 kgs, and as it begins to move forward relative to the spine the muscles of the upper back such as the trapezius and levator scapula resist the heavy ball and thus become tight and painful.
  • Nerve Pain- As the head hangs out in front of the spine it creates a stress point in the lower cervical spine. This causes strain and oxygen deprivation to the local nerve roots that generally refer to the area of the trapezius muscle.
  • Cervical disc injuries- When the cervical disc comes injured or bulges back into the nerve root it can cause pain that refers causing neck pain, upper back and shoulder pain. Pain in the exam location as the trapezius!
  • Stiff mid back- stiffness in the middle back or thoracic spine makes it more difficult for the head to rest over center of the spine with good posture. Domino Effect of everything above!
  • Scapular Winging- Poor muscular control on the scapula results in the bottom or inferior portion of the scapula to come off the rib cage. This is generally caused by weak mid back muscles and overly active upper back muscles such as the trapezius

How do you relieve Trapezius Pain?

  • Postural correction exercises
  • Nerve relief positions
  • Scapular muscle balancing

It’s really that simple!


YOU should be able to move the way you’d like to move without experiencing pain. YOU should be able to experience freedom and energy knowing there’s nothing holding back from giving your life 110%. Dr. Dean would like to learn more about your challenges with a quick phone or email before beginning treatment. Contact him today.