The Trapezius, part 2 – Super posture!

Monthly Muscle: Trapezius

Trapezius sections - Ottawa massage blogThe middle and inferior traps fill the space from just below the top of the shoulder blades in a V down to the lower third of the back (the red and pink sections in the diagram to the right). Along with the upper traps, which we saw last week, these two muscles help move and support your shoulder blades and spine.

Middle Trapezius: The posture corrector

Actions – Pulls shoulder blades towards spine

Common pain culprit – Slouching; Internally rotated shoulders

If you work at a computer, wear a back pack or workout your pecs too much, you probably have internally rotated shoulders. With internally rotated shoulders, comes weakness in the middle trapezius. This happens because the internal rotation is drawing the shoulder blades farther from the spine, keeping the middle trapezius in a constant stretch position. Pain arises because the muscle no longer has the strength to fully contract back to its original length.

Middle Traps - Ottawa massage blogThe fix? Stretch pecs, strengthen mid traps/rhomboids, correct posture.

Keep checking our blog for great postural exercises. Or, ask your RMT to demonstrate proper strengthening exercises at your next visit.

Lower Trapezius:  Superman muscle

Actions – Depresses and upwardly rotates shoulder blade

Common pain culprit – Holding arms out unsupported (e.g.: driving with hands high on wheel, typing without support of table underneath forearms)

The lower traps are engaged when you hold your arms out in front of you, similar to Superman flying through the air. Holding this position for an extended period of time will result in overuse and strain of the lower traps.

Lower traps - Ottawa massage blog

Even though this muscle is much lower on the back, its pain referral pattern can extend into the neck. This is why it is important to include a back massage when you are coming in for treatment of neck pain. Clearing out the trigger points in the lower traps will help reduce your neck pain and improve postural control.

The fix? Ergonomic assessment of work station, stretch abdominals, strengthen lower traps

The ‘Superman’ position above is one lower trapezius strength exercise. There are many more, from isometric (without movement) to dynamic exercises. Your RMT can suggest options to suit your body and needs.

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Three-time nominee and 2016 winner of Top Massage Clinic in Ottawa! At Body Poets Massage Therapy, we are committed to excellence in client care. We provide therapeutic, sports, pre- and post-natal, wellness, cupping, hot stone, ART, Thai massage, and more in a convenient, peaceful, downtown Ottawa location with free client parking. We are FSCO-registered and can bill your auto insurance company directly for treatment after a motor vehicle accident. We also bill directly to Great West Life and Green Shield. Our flagship office at 504 Kent Street in Ottawa is close to the Queensway and easy to reach by car, foot, bike or bus. Our satellite clinic in Almonte, Ontario is cozy and charming. Our online booking system makes it simple for you to reserve your appointment at any time. And our network of like-minded health professionals means we can refer you to practitioners in other fields who meet your needs for quality care. Step into the circle of care, at Body Poets.,,

4 thoughts on “The Trapezius, part 2 – Super posture!

  1. Pingback: It’s not always in your head: Headaches and tension-related head pain | Body Poets Massage Therapy

  2. Reblogged this on Body Poets Massage Therapy and commented:

    The trapezius muscles are commonly overworked and tense, and cause much of the upper back, shoulder, neck, and headache pain that prompt us to go for massage. Understanding and caring for your traps will reduce your pain and let you feel better. Last week, we looked at the upper traps. This week, we complete the picture with the middle and lower traps.

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