Trapezius Strain

A trapezius strain is a muscle strain in the upper back that stretches or tears the trapezius, one of the major back muscles. The trapezius is divided into specialized sections that support the shoulder blades, neck, and head, and controls everything from movements to the upper chest when a person breathes. These muscles are commonly referred to as “trap” muscles.


Glenoid fractures usually occur after periods of overuse. Repetitive activities as simple as typing on a keyboard and driving can stress these muscles. However, twisting the body sharply, weightlifting, falls, and car accidents are also common causes.


Due to the vast nature of trapezius muscles, symptoms vary depending on which muscle is injured. The most common symptoms are swelling, stiffness, soreness, aching, and a burning sensation. Range of motion in the shoulders and neck may also be impacted.


Physicians will assess symptoms and perform a physical exam to diagnose a trapezius strain. Some of the factors physicians look at include movement, swelling, and pain. Imaging tests such as x-rays may also be required to understand the injury and rule out other conditions.


Trapezius strains can be treated without surgery, using anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and ice. Physical therapy is also effective in restoring strength and range of motion after a strain has occurred.

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