The upper trapezius is a commonly tight muscle in the top of the shoulder. Often times the upper trapezius creates havoc during overhead movements, either decreasing strength or causing pain. Watch and learn how to improve the soft tissue of the upper trapezius.

The trapezius is a muscle every overhead athlete (specifically swimmers) is familiar with. In fact, this is the muscle most attempt to massage out or have their friends massage out when they are sore. The upper trapezius is the main spot of soreness and will receive the bulk of the discussion.

Trigger points at the upper trapezius are believed to occur from excessive elevation of the shoulder girdle. Trigger points can occur on the lateral neck or superior to the shoulder blade. The upper trapezius can refer pain to the bottom of the skull or anywhere along this large muscle. The upper trapezius has been shown to have increased activation in overhead motions in those with shoulder pain (Ludewig 2000, Moraes 2008).

Where is the Trapezius?

The trapezius is a trapezoid like shape, which encompasses most of the back. The upper trapezius is a long muscle reaching from the top of the head to the outer shoulder, while the middle and lower trapezius are slightly smaller encompasses the mid back. The most common trigger points for shoulder pain are located at the upper trapezius, our main discussion point.