What is Trapezius Muscle Spasm: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Trapezius Muscle Spasm?

The trapezius muscle is a large muscle located at the base of the neck and runs around the shoulder blades on both sides of the shoulder. Due to the location of this muscle and its involvement with movement of the shoulder and neck makes it one of the heavily used muscles of the body. Since this muscle is used so much frequently for practically everything that an individual does with his or her hands making it vulnerable to strain or spasms. When there is excessive use of the Trapezius Muscle it leads to muscle fatigue resulting in pain and what we call as Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

A good period of rest to these areas with avoiding of activities which may aggravate the condition and application of ice to the trapezius muscle area may help in healing of the spasm but in some cases medical intervention may be required for treatment of Trapezius Muscle Spasm. An individual experiencing Trapezius Muscle Spasm may be sent to a physical therapist for stretching and strengthening exercises which is quite a reasonable option for treatment of Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

What is Trapezius Muscle Spasm?

What Can Cause Trapezius Muscle Spasm?

Coming to what can cause Trapezius Muscle Spasm, overuse of the trapezius muscle is the most common cause of Trapezius Muscle Spasm as when the muscle is being overused it causes the muscle to fatigue and ultimately strain or rupture. There are many things that an individual does which may cause Trapezius Muscle Spasm. These things are rigorous exercising using the shoulder and neck muscles without adequate stretching prior to beginning the exercises. People involved in construction work who lift and carry heavy objects are also at risk for having Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

Trapezius Muscle Spasm can also be caused due to a sudden twisting motion of the neck or the shoulder which may cause a sudden strain on the shoulders and neck causing the muscles to spasm or strain. A medical condition known as trapezius myalgia which is neuromuscular disorder causing severe pain and spasms is also one of the causes of Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

Also, people who sit in front of the computer for prolonged periods of time and have an incorrect posture of their shoulders and neck are also at increased risk for getting Trapezius Muscle Spasm. There are also certain myofascial trigger points in the trapezius muscle that may also cause Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

What are the Symptoms of Trapezius Muscle Spasm?

A muscle spasm means that each and every fiber of that muscle starts to contract simultaneously and the muscle becomes tight resulting in restricted blood flow to the area. The same mechanism operates for Trapezius Muscle Spasm. Due to simultaneous contracting of the muscle fibers and tightness of the muscles, there is severe pain experienced along the shoulder and neck region. The muscles will appear stiff such that it will be hard to move the shoulder and neck freely without pain. There may also be muscle weakness due to Trapezius Muscle Spasm. The muscle stiffness and pain caused due to Trapezius Muscle Spasm may not be relieved even with gentle stretching exercises which eases pain caused due to normal muscle cramping.

How is Trapezius Muscle Spasm Treated?

Trapezius Muscle Spasm is treated mostly conservatively with application of ice or cold compresses and exercises. Surgery may only be required if the muscle is actually torn. Some of the ways of treating Trapezius Muscle Spasm are:

Cold Compresses: This is quite an effective way to treat Trapezius Muscle Spasm. You need to take a towel or a bag filled with ice and apply it over the neck and shoulder area that is along the region of the trapezius muscle and keep the bag in place for a period of 15-20 minutes. You need to do this two to three times a day. This will help in reducing pain and inflammation in the area. Doing this continuously for a couple of days will definitely show some improvement in pain and return of function of the shoulders and neck.

Stretches: Stretching is one of the best ways to get rid of Trapezius Muscle Spasm. Even if the muscle is not strained, stretching the muscle at least twice daily helps in preventing any further injury to the muscle and calm down the pain. These stretching exercises are easy to do and do not require any specialized equipment to do exercises for Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

Medication: Medications in the form of NSAIDs can be taken like ibuprofen and Tylenol for controlling pain and reduce inflammation. It should be made sure that you consult with the doctor first before starting any medications and you need to take only the dosage that has been recommended to you and not exceed the dosage for fear of side effects.

Natural Remedy for Muscle Spasms: Ginger and cabbage are known to be quite useful home remedy for treating Trapezius Muscle Spasm and they are easily available. All you need to do is wrap some cabbage around some ginger and bake it in an oven for around an hour. Now take it out of the over and cut them into slices. Now, place a slice over the affected area for about 30 minutes after allowing the slice to cool for a few minutes. This will help greatly in reducing Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

What are the Precautions Required While Exercising for Trapezial Muscle Spasm?

Having said that exercising is the best way to treat Trapezius Muscle Spasm, it is always recommend to first consult with your physician before beginning the exercises and following the below mentioned techniques to avoid further injuring the muscles.

Correct Technique: Exercises done with a bad technique can cause unwanted injury and may increase the pain and hence make sure that you exercise with proper technique under the guidance of a trainer.

Warm-up: Before beginning to exercise, make sure that you warm up adequately to avoid any avoidable injury to the muscle.

Exercise within Limits: It is always recommended to not overdo with exercises as it can cause more harm than good. Hence as soon as you feel some pain with doing the exercises it is always recommended to stop the exercise and start the next day for minimizing any injury and to get best possible treatment for Trapezius Muscle Spasm.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2017

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