Muscles: The Trapezius

Are you slouching?
I know that's one problem I have as I spending so much time in front of a computer. I can tell when my slouch is bad too, because my shoulders are practically up at my ears.
This "Elevation" of your shoulders can be caused by several muscles, but one of the main muscles whose action is "elevation" of the shoulder is your Trapezius and more specifically, the "Upper Trapezius".

The Trapezius gets its name from the greek Trapezoides meaning "table shaped", and is the most superficial muscle of the back. A portion of the trapezius muscle extends over the posterior (back) neck region, but is primarily a back muscle.

The Trapezius muscle functions in three sections.
Upper Trapezius:
Origin: Occiput - C7
Insertion: Clavicle, Acromion Process, Spine of the Scapula
Action: Elevation, Upward Rotation

Middle Trapezius:

Origin: T1 - T5
Insertion: Spine of the Scapula
Action: Retraction

Lower Trapezius:
Origin: T6 - T12
Insertion: Root of the spine of the Scapula
Action: Depression, Upward rotation

The Trapezius is often an area where many people hold emotional tension, hence the hunched shoulders.
Trigger points in the Trapezius can often lead to headaches, particularly in the temporal region and into the jaw line (masseter). Trigger points in this muscle can also cause loss of balance, and dizziness.

The Trapezius can be treated in the Prone, Supine and also Side Lying positions.

If you are experiencing upper back pain, or shoulder pain and are unable to get a chance to see your massage therapist, I have found that a great way to treat your Trapezius is to use a Tennis ball and a sock.
Please the tennis ball in the sock, and hold the sock over your shoulder, so that the the Tennis ball is against the Trapezius.
Now lean back against a wall, and slowly move up and down against the Tennis ball.
This will massage your back and shoulders, and allow you to control the pressure involved.
You can use a smaller, harder bouncey ball to get more specific and deeper pressure, or use a larger, softer foam ball for lighter pressure.

If you have any questions about the Trapezius that you would like answered, or any aches and pains you would like addressed, please comment below, or Email Me.

I would like to thank Charlie Watson at Advanced Massage therapeutics for some of the information contained within this article.
Also used as resources was:
Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy by Mel Cash
Deep Tissue Massage: A visual guide to techniques by Art Riggs
The Concise Book of Neuromuscular Therapy by John Sharkey