How to Self-Massage Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius Muscle is a triangle-shaped upper back muscle that starts at the base of your neck, spans the length of your upper shoulders, and extends down into your middle back.

This muscle's main function is to stabilise and move your scapula (shoulder blade). The trapezius also helps you move your head, neck, arms, shoulders, and torso, stabilises your spine, and plays an important role in posture

Physical and mental stress can make your trapezius muscle tight, leading to pain in your neck and shoulders, and tension headache. You might also experience ear ringing and jaw pain beyond your trapezius muscles.

People who sit at a computer for several hours a day have a higher risk of slouching, which brings the shoulders forward and causes the upper back to hunch. This will result in the head to come forward. But in order to see forward, we lift the head up, which causes compression on the back of the upper neck where the skull meets.

This mechanical encroachment causes pressure on the pathway where the spinal accessory nerve enters and exits the skull. When the nerve is irritated, it sends signals to the muscle and causes contraction, in this case, it’s the upper trapezius and another muscle in the front of the neck called sternocleidomastoid. Over a period of time these micro-contractions lead to trigger points and cause tension headache. It is imperative to address the root of the problem : the shortened soft tissues between the upper neck and skull that’s causing compression that innervates the upper trapezius.

In an article titled Differential effects of mental concentration and acute psychosocial stress on cervical muscle activity and posture“, published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology in June of 2013. It found that trapezius muscle activity significantly increased from the high stress conditions compared to the other muscles. This demonstrates how sensitive to stress the trapezius muscle is.

Poor posture slouching hunchback

In a March 2014 "issue of the journal of Pain Research and Treatment", the authors did a study and found a strong association between neck and shoulder pain and trapezius muscle tenderness among office workers. Their study confirms most neck and shoulder pain is related pain and tenderness of the muscles. The severity of tenderness was more in women than men, about 23% vs 7%, which is similar to findings in fibromyalgia.

A February 2014 study in the journal BioMed Research International indicates a high prevalence of trapezius muscle pain among elderly women doing computer work causing chronic painful muscles. They found almost 40 percent of these women suffered from trapezius myalgia.

A 2021 study in the "International Journal of Clinical Practice" found that upper trapezius muscle stiffness increased in rounded shoulder posture. The use of smart phones and computers for a long period causes posture disorders like rounded shoulder and forward head postures, which are known to cause neck pain.

Therefore, trapezius muscle should be an area of focus for relaxation, massage, and strengthening to help avoid neck & shoulder pain and tension headache.

Trapezius Trigger Points

If you’ve experienced trigger point release or therapy, you’ll understand that the relief can be dramatic, but the pain and muscle tension usually come back. Trigger point applications of therapy just shrink the trigger point to where it is not hurting. Of course, it’s still there and will gradually grow and start hurting again.

The key is that massage therapy needs to be applied repeatedly to continue to diminish the trigger points. So, this is something you can easily do at home therapies with LittleMum Trapezius Massager.

LittleMum Trapezius Massager

LittleMum Trapezius Massager, made of 100% food grade silicone, sturdy but highly resilience and spring back when compressed, perfectly mimics the pressure produced by deep tissue massage therapists, targets the deep layers of trapezius area to ease muscle, improve blood flow and aid in recovery from trapezius strain symptoms. It lifts your head to support your neck in the neutral aligned position and helps your neck stay in its optimal C-curve consistent with the rest of your spine.

How to Use LittleMum Trapezius Massager to release trapezius muscle

How to release trapezius muscle

1. Lie on your back and feet firmly planted on the ground. Slot massager under you back. Locate the first two smaller pressure points underneath your sub-occipitalis area and move slowly to find the right position for you.

Trapezius Muscle Massage

2. You can apply varying levels of pressure with your body weight and hand movements to determine how deep and pressure you wish to apply. Changing the surface which you are laying will also vary the pressure level. Lying on bed is the easier way than on carpet or a mat.

Trapezius Massage Pain

3. You can do arm circle to exercise your trapezius muscles while lying on the massager. You may also prefer to use it in conjunction with LittleMum Back Massager as many others do.

How to release trapezius muscle Pain

4. For intense massage lover, lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees, raise your hip, lifting entire lower back up off ground. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to your starting position.

How to release neck and shoulder pain

5. Or use a chair to firm your body while raising your hip to lift the lower back up off the ground. Your shoulder muscles will feel more pressure in this way. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to your starting position

6. If you feel the pressure point domes NOT prominent enough for your dense knots, you can fill a small face towel in the bottom gap to prevent massager’s arch from collapsing when you settle weight on the massager.

It is common to feel a degree of discomfort during the massage itself. The whole point of this massager is to break up muscle tension, adhesions and scar tissue that often lie in deeper musculature. This pain would naturally fade away in short time after you finish your 5-10 minutes session.

Warning: LittleMum Massager should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed or infected skin, skin rashes, unhealed or open wounds, tumours, abdominal hernia, fragile bones, or areas of recent fractures.

Speak to your doctor before using LitteMum Massager if you: have a history of blood clots or a clotting disorder, are taking blood thinners, have a bleeding disorder, have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation.


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