What causes tight upper traps?
What causes upper trap tightness?

Tight upper traps and upper trap pain can be caused by many things. It can be a painful issue that most people think is normal and can be lived with. This is not true and upper traps can be treated with the right physio approaches; upper traps can cause neck pain due to many reasons and finding the source of the problem is key to getting better.

Causes of upper trap tightness

  • Poor posture
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Shoulders dropping
  • Overstretching the upper trapezius
  • Poor shoulder blade posture and movement mechanics
  • Neck injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Whiplash
  • Stress

Why do upper traps become tight?

Upper traps often become tight when the shoulder is dropped and tilted forward which happens due to the position of the arm and the neck during the day such as for example office workers whom can experience neck and upper trap pain because they are typing all day and arms are not supported.Β 

Shoulder Drop Causing Upper Trap Tightness 1
A Shoulder Drop Can Cause Shoulder Tightness

Physio Treatment of Upper Trap Tightness and Pain

For most people we advise against stretching the upper trapezius. Stretching only provides temporary relief of the pain and may feel good but causes weakness and makes the muscle longer than it should be in the long term which causes an even worse shoulder drop. We pose the question to our patients that if stretching upper traps worked for the issue why do you need to keep repeating it? That is because it is not fixing it in the long run.

Treatment for upper trap tightness includes:

  • Manual therapy treatment of the neck
  • Taping of the shoulder blade upwards to reduce the pulling on the upper trap
  • Ergonomics for desks and driving
  • Strengthening of the upper traps
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