“I wake everyday unable to function like I should ! In my trap, right side of my neck goes up to my head and unreal headache and pain for days!!! I have massagers, pillows, bedding. Motrin etc nothing helps!!!!! This all started after a chiropractor visit two years ago... so long time in pain. Will this help and why!?” – Cheryl, 12/16/2016
Recently we received this question/comment on Facebook. Trigger points in the trapezius muscles are actually quite common. Trigger points when pressed upon can be painful and they can also cause referred pain: pain into other areas of the body.
The trapezius muscle is large and has 3 parts to it: the upper trapezius, middle trapezius and lower trapezius. Each of these 3 regions can cause specific levels and types pain. Let’s look at common symptoms associated with trigger points in this large muscle:
Common Symptoms of the Trapezius Muscle
- headaches on the temples / "tension" headaches
- face, temple, or jaw pain
- pain behind the eye
- dizziness or vertigo (in conjunction with the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle)
- neck pain
- stiffness in the neck inability to move your neck in all the ranges of motion
- intolerance to weight on your shoulders
- pain in the middle of the back
- headaches at the base of your skull – in the suboccipitial muscles
- TrP5 refers superficial burning pain close to the spine
- TrP6 refers aching pain to the top of the shoulder near the joint 3
mid-back, neck, and/or upper shoulder region pain 4 possibly referral on the back of the shoulder blade, down the inside of the arm, and into the ring and little fingers (TrP7), very similar to a serratus posterior superior referral pattern headaches at the base of the skull
TrP3 can refer a deep ache and diffuse tenderness over the top of the shoulder 6
A massage therapist can help with trigger points and focusing particularly on this muscle. Other things you can do at home is use a vibration massager which can help to relax the trap muscles. To work on specific trigger points at home you can use a theracane which can target hard to reach painful spots.
A heating pack can also help along with a tens unit, which can provide much needed relief.
Finally, keeping your neck in alignment is also key. Nerves that innervate the trapezius muscle come the neck and directly influence how you feel .
Using a pillow such as the arc4life traction pillow can help you maintain that. Most importantly, this pillow gives your neck a gentle stretch which opens up the vertebrae releasing the nerves of the neck, removing interference.
Source: Trigger Points of the Trapezius