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Pain Relief for the Upper Back

Body Region: Trapezius Muscles
Conditions Associated with Tps: Headache, Frozen shoulder, Whiplash, Upper back pain
General Symptoms: Headache, shoulder pain, upper back and neck stiffness
Common Causal Activities: Usually overuse or Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), Occasionally trauma
Anatomy Picture:
Traps
Self Care: Since the Traps are two very large muscles (one on each side of the spine) and go to the skull and over the shoulder the principle is important. Pressing with a hook tool anywhere in the muscles will find and treat TPs. A simple method for those from the top back margin of the scapula (shoulder blade) is to use tennis ball therapy on the floor or against a wall. For the top of the shoulders a cane hook pulled down into the top of the shoulder is best. If this is not available use the fingers of one hand as a hook into the top of the shoulder on the other side. Use the free hand to help pull down on the treating hand wrist so the added weight aids the pressure. See Detailed Instructions.
Therapist Care: A double thumb post position is best along the paraspinals while a double thumb flat position is good for scanning for TPs in the broad areas of the muscles. Play close attention to the medial margin of the scapula and the subscapular muscles. For the top of the shoulder a hand squeeze is best followed by a finger tip pressed into the deeper muscles between the clavicle and scapula.
Special Notes: Since the traps are so large and involved in so much of the upper spinal and shoulder movement it often doesn't have a specific focal point of the pain. It is often a referred site for other TPs.

 

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