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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

Trapped in Trapezius? Did you overuse your Trapezius muscle that it is hurting you in return?

What is a Trapezius Strain?

  • The trapezius muscle plays a vital role in controlling many movements of your arm and shoulder. These muscles are heavily used to shrug your shoulders, turn your head, bend your neck to the side and extend your neck backwards or throw an object. One can develop a trapezius strain when the tendon overstretches or tears. Usually, trapezius strains occur due to overuse or repetitive tasks like carrying a heavy bag for many hours. Sports injuries, repetitive work, and auto accidents can also cause a trapezius strain.

What are the causes leading to Trapezius Strain?

Trapezius strains most commonly result from overuse of the muscle. Acute strains can be caused by trauma from an outside force or a fall. Acute strains cause stiffness, tenderness, and pain to the trapezius muscles.

The most common cause for trapezius strain includes:

  • Excessive typing on a keyboard

  • Cradling a phone between the ear and shoulder

  • Carrying a heavy bag

  • Weight lifting

  • Playing an instrument for an extended time

  • Contact Sports

  • Collisions

  • Falls

  • Overuse

  • Poor posture

  • Mental stress

Degree of injury

Trapezius muscle pain varies from mild to severe depending on the severity of the injury.

It is classified into grade I, grade II, and grade III.

Grade I strain is mild, and only a few fibers are overstretched or torn. Grade II strain is moderate and more fibers are stretched and torn. Grade III trapezius muscle strain is more severe and can result in loss of muscle function.


The range of strained trapezius muscle symptoms includes:

  • Stiff, sore, and aching muscles

  • Bruising where the injury occurred

  • A burning sensation radiating through the shoulders and the upper back and neck

  • Warm and tingling muscles

  • Muscle spasms

  • Swelling muscles

  • Headaches

  • Limited mobility in the shoulder, neck, back, or arms

  • Little strength in the shoulder, neck, back, or arms

Pulled trap muscle symptoms may worsen with activity.


Non surgical

  • Rest: minimize the use of the affected muscles

  • Ice: to reduce swelling in the muscles

  • Compression: to reduce swelling in the muscles

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: to reduce swelling and pain in the muscles

  • Physical Therapy: Aim is to restore strength and motion to the trapezius muscles after they heal.


Surgery is opted if the injury seems unresponsive to non-surgical treatments.

Physical Therapy Treatment

Common physical therapy treatments for a trapezius strain include:

· Pain management

· Stretching

· Range of motion exercises

· Muscle strengthening

· Manual therapy

· Patient education

· Functional training

· Assistive devices

Strengthening exercises for the trapezius muscle plays a crucial role in treating Trapezius strain. This includes many exercises that aim at restoring the strength of trapezius back to its normal level. Your Physical therapist will be the right person to plan your personalized exercise programme and help you strengthen your Trapezius muscle and to get back to normal routine with no pain and discomfort.

We have the best physical therapists who are well qualified to rectify your complaints with Trapezius muscle strain. Valley Healing Hands provide the best physical therapy in Brownsville, Texas for Trapezius muscle strain.

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