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Muscle Strain of the Upper Back

Muscle strains are a common injury and involve the stretching or tearing of the trapezius. This large muscle group spans the upper back, shoulders and neck. These muscles are commonly called the “trap” muscles.

 



Anatomy
The trapezius is divided into left and right sides. Each side is further divided into sections. These specialized sections help move the shoulder blades, the neck and the head. The trapezius also helps control the upper chest when a person breathes.


Causes
Trapezius strains are commonly caused by overuse. Working at a keyboard or driving for extended periods can place stress on these muscles. Cradling a phone between the ear and shoulder, carrying a heavy bag or playing a musical instrument for hours at a time can cause trapezius pain. These muscles are also commonly injured during weightlifting, or during contact sports.


Symptoms
Symptoms of a trapezius strain depend on which part of the muscle is injured. Symptoms may include stiffness, soreness, and aching and burning sensations. This pain may radiate from the shoulders through the upper back and neck. The injured area may feel warm and tingly. It may swell. The person may have a headache. These
symptoms may worsen with activity.


Treatment
If your physician diagnoses you with a muscle strain, he or she may refer you to The NeuroMedical Center’s Outpatient Therapy Department for treatment.  There, an expert team of physical therapists will work with you one-on-one to relieve your pain.  Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications may also be incorporated into your treatment.