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Neck and shoulder pain is a very common condition suffered by most adults and it is caused by overuse and often poor posture. In most cases the sufferer may feel pain along the back of the neck, along the top of the shoulders and right through into your shoulder blade. The medical term of this condition is called Upper Trapezius Muscle Strain. Though there are many many large and small muscles that make up your neck and shoulder area, the trapezius muscle often gets over use as it is a major player in holding up your upright posture.
Neck and shoulder pain can manifest in many different ways. For some people, there’s a wide spread dull pain along the region, seemingly without an identifiable exact ‘sore spot’ or source.For some people there may be wide spread pain plus one or more lumpy spots with clear boarders, along the upper shoulders, which the patient can feel upon touching it.
This spot may cause pain without provocation or it may only feel painful to the touch.These lumpy painful spots are called Myofascial trigger points, often referred to as ‘knots’ in the shoulders.
They can be benign or latent with the sufferer not being aware of their presence or they can be active and highly irritable causing symptoms like pain, muscle spasm and tension in the neck.
Trigger points can also cause referred pain, meaning a trigger point on your upper traps may cause twitching around your eyes or temples, headaches, and in some sever cases dizziness.
The Trapezius Muscles is a large diamond shaped muscle that serves to assist you with an upright position (sitting or standing) by holding the large and heavy cranium up. Without the upper part of this large muscle your head would literarily flop forward whenever you sat or stood up. It’s lower muscle fibers hold up your huge shoulders and prevents them from rolling forward and downwards.
So when you see someone with great posture, one of the reasons for this is because their Trapezius muscle is functioning properly while a slumpy neck and shoulder posture signifies a weakened Trapezius Muscle.
Neck and shoulder pain is very common among office workers with poor posture from sitting in front of a computer, cradling a phone on one shoulder for extended periods through out the day or leaning on the elbow of the arm that’s moving your mouse.
This is because the Traps get fatigued and suffer an overuse injury or postural fatigue syndrome, brought on by bad posture.
Sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers can form in your muscles after overuse. These sensitive areas are called trigger points.
When an office worker at a computer allows their head and shoulders to slump forward, this puts the trapezius muscle in a prolonged stretched position while it’s still having to carry the load of the head and shoulders. Over time, micro tears begin to happen on the muscle fiber much like you would see on a plastic grocery bag that has been overloaded.
Similar to an acute or sudden injury, the body tries to heal this overuse injury however the key is to discontinue the bad posture immediately.
Massage therapy is one of the most effective non-evasive ways of treating neck and shoulder pain.
Massage therapy treatment is an excellent way to treat neck and shoulder pain and a registered massage therapist is equipped to create a customized treatment plan for you. The treatment plan will be based on the severity of your pain and aside from the massage; your RMT may include some hydrotherapy in the form of a hydroculator pack or a heating pad within your massage treatment.
If you are having an in home massage, your therapist will show up with all the tools they need in order to provide you with a massage at home.
Often sufferers tend to stretch their neck and shoulders when they feel fatigued and often times this is counter productive as the muscle is often already over stretched and weak. As such, strengthening is beneficial as part of preventing future fatigue.
A Spa-IN Registered Massage Therapist will be able to guide you on when to strengthen and when to stretch.