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.