Trapezius is a flat triangular muscle that is divided into two parts, the upper trapezius and the lower trapezius. Both of these muscles are responsible in maintaining the proper orientation of the scapula, or shoulder blade. When the upper trapezius acts alone, it elevates the shoulder and supports the shoulder girdle when lifting a load. The upper trapezius is located in between the neck and the shoulders, which are areas prone to muscle tension and pain. Stretching this muscle helps to relieve tightening or pain on the neck and shoulder area.
- Skill level:
Sit upright in a chair with your shoulders relaxed and head in neutral position. Carefully tuck your chin towards your left clavicle, or collar bone, as far as you can without slouching. Then turn your head slightly to the right until you feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds. Relax and bring your head back to neutral position. Do the same for the opposite side. Perform this procedure three times for each side.
Seated upright with your head in a neutral position, place your right arm behind your back and hold on to the edge seat of the chair on the opposite side. Then, slowly tilt your head on the left side and lower your chin as far as you can until you feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, relax and bring your head back to neutral position. Do the same for the opposite side. Repeat this procedure three times for each side.
Start in a standing position, with your head in neutral position and right arm placed behind your back. Grasp the right hand with your left hand and pull it more to the left side. Then, tilt your head to the left until your left ear is in line with your left shoulder. Slowly lower your chin until you can feel a stretch on the right side of your neck and hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. Relax and bring your head back to neutral position. Do the same for the opposite side. Repeat this three times for each side.
Begin by lying on your back (supine position) with your partner standing at the edge of the bed where your head is. Then turn your head to the left while your partner crosses his arms so that his left hand is at your right shoulder and his right hand on your occiput, or the lower back area of the head. Instruct your partner to lower your shoulder with his left hand while assisting your head with his right hand as you tilt it even more to the left. Both of these motions should be done simultaneously. As you turn your head to the left, lower your chin to further the stretch. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and relax. Do the same for the opposite side and repeat the procedure three times for each side.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid jerking motions when your stretch. All stretches must be slow and gradual.
- Do not stretch the upper trapezius if there is an existing strain.
- Do not do stretching when there is recent fracture on the neck area.
- If there is pain, numbness or a tingling sensation during execution, discontinue the procedure and contact your doctor immediately.