Today from the muscle's perspective we will see the Trapezius and the ways it combats life as we know it. There are helpful ways to support the Trapezius and make repetitive motion less of an issue.
(This home made artwork is exaggerated to accommodate for humor)
The Trapezius is known by its shape, a trapezoid. It extends to the base of the skull, rests at the acromion process (the tips of the shoulders) and anchors in the middle vertebrae of the back. The Trapezius' job is to keep our head up, shoulders back and down. However we tend to use 'em for many other strange positions for long periods. See if you have heard of these: balancing a phone between the ear and shoulder, carrying around purses, holding the shoulders tall when driving, static diagonal hold while gardening, and coming in for a landing in the monitor at work.
I think of the Trapezius like a soldier; well versed in many situations, controls a lot of ground, strong and able to take a lot of different stresses.
But, because the Trapezius can hold a lot of wear and tear, this also means later down the road it can cause chronic wide spread issues.
Some of the wear you may be experiencing or will notice are:
Lack of movement in the arm reaching forward, or across
Lower back discomfort
Lack of the ability to bend and the waist or hips
Lack of neck movement
Arm and hand tingling or pain
Have you noticed these in your life? Do you want to have less of them? Let's continue with how to support this particular muscle of your body.
Look with me at the actual muscle, where it is located, and what it is around.
The Trapezius is on the upper right, in red, in this model. The reason it is only on one side is to help show what lies beneath it. In this case the other 'red' muscles are the first ones that interact with the Trapezius when it is chronically tight. We will dive deeper into these muscle in weeks to come, but for right now I wanted to show you their current relationship.
How best can we support the Trapezius so that it does not impact other muscles in a tightening way?
Stretch regularly throughout your day. This does not mean every waking second, that is unrealistic. However, periodically moving around benefits the movement of your muscles and increases your concentration.
Regular exercise. This spreads to many activities; going to the gym, playing your favorite sport, jogging, speed walking, the ways to incorporate this is limitless. If you want to have motion, show your body that you do. Ease into it.
Regular Massage treatments. Regular can mean weekly, bi-weekly, tri-weekly or monthly. Have a time that is for you, to refocus on you and what you need to feel your best. Always thinking in the realistic, are you worth giving 30, 70 or 90 minutes back to, for all of your hard work you have delivered to others?
Ice Therapy. This is a frequent go to, for me personally. Use the Pop sickle method, going through the 4 stages of treatment, which should take about 5 minutes for each point. This will promote circulation, alertness and loosen your muscles. I will write a post about Ice Therapy soon, so that you can know how to utilize it.
Drinking water. Water is an important part of our system, it is everywhere. Drinking a regular amount of water helps to keep the body's systems lubricated, moving smoothly, washing out lactic acid or other waste that build ups in the muscle and other systems.
Excellent, how do you feel about knowing what you do now? How will you use this in your lifestyle?
If there are some things still unclear that you like more detail about, please contact me, I would love to talk with you.
Share this! Like this! Stay tuned for next week. "A Deeper Look into the Neck and Making Driving so much Easier."