Why Is Trapezius Muscle Important For Us?
The Trapezius muscle is a vital part of the shoulder girdle. This muscle is responsible for movement and rotation of the shoulders. It also helps in stabilizing the arms. The trapezius muscle also helps in extending the neck. All in all, the Trapezius Muscle is quite a busy muscle of the body and hence it is not surprising that it can get stiff or may spasm or get strained at times. When this happens, movement of the shoulder and neck becomes difficult. This is especially true for those people who have a desk job and sit with their neck extended for prolonged periods of time and also those people who work in construction and lift, push, and pull heavy items repetitively at work on a daily basis. To relieve this stiffness and spasms of the trapezius muscle, below mentioned are some simple stretching exercises that one can do on a regular basis to stretch the trapezius muscles and get rid of the nagging stiffness and pain.
Trapezius Stretches: 5 Best Exercises To Stretch The Traps
The following are some simple stretching exercises for the trapezius muscles. It should be noted here that a consultation with your treating provider is a must before beginning any exercise routine and hence you must visit your treating provider before starting these exercises.
Ear to Shoulder Exercise To Stretch The Traps: To do this trapezius stretch exercise, you need to sit straight on a mat on the floor. Now, slowly and gently take the right ear towards the right shoulder. As you do this, your left shoulder will lift up. To avoid this, you can ease your head towards the center till you get the left shoulder back down. Now, lift the right hand up and over the head while resting the hand on the cheekbone. Stay in this position for about half-a-minute, this very gently stretches your upper trapezius. This will stretch the trapezius muscle slightly.
Now, do the same for the opposite side that is move your left ear towards the left shoulder in such a way that the right shoulder does not lift up and take the left hand up over the head resting the hand on the left cheekbone and do it for half-a-minute. This is one of the most simple and effective Traps Stretch.
Makarasana or Crocodile Pose: This is a yoga pose that is quite an effective Trapezius stretching exercise. It may be difficult to do this exercise in the beginning, but with constant practice you will be able to do this trapezius stretch without any discomfort. To do this exercise, you need to lie face down on the mat with the feet about shoulder width apart. Fold your hands and rest them on the top of the chin as shown in the picture. Now, rest the forehead on the hands. This will relax the muscles of he upper back and neck and relieve any tension and hence is quite effective Traps Stretch.
Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose: This is yet another effective yoga pose to stretch your traps. This exercise not only releases tension in the lower neck region and the trapezius muscles, but also increases flexibility of the spine. To do this Trapezius stretching exercise, you need to lie face down on the floor. Now, keep your hands next to the shoulders and keep the elbows as close to the body as possible. Press down the feet deeply on the floor and take a deep breath while you lift the head and chest up.
If possible try and straighten the elbow, as this will cause a stretch of the back and cause the back to arch quite a bit. While doing this, make sure that the head and the neck are on the same plane that is they are straight. Maintain this posture as shown in the picture for about two minutes and then breathe out and comes back to normal position. Repeat this about two to three times. This will give a relaxing feeling on the trapezius muscles.
Marjariasana-Bitilisana or Cat-Cow Pose: This yoga pose is quite effective in releasing tension in the neck and upper shoulders and also stretches the back. To do this trap stretch exercise, you need to come into an all four position as shown in the picture. Your position should be such that your hips should be immediately over the knees, you shoulders should be immediately over the elbows and your elbows should be immediately over the wrists. This can be clearly seen in the picture. Now, take a deep breath and while inhaling lift the head and chest such that your back takes the form of an arch. When breathing out, round your spine toward the ceiling and head towards the floor.
Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Forward Fold: This is quite an effective yoga pose for strengthening the upper back and shoulders, relieve tension of the neck muscles, and stretching the trap muscle. To do this exercise, you need to come to a standing position and keep the foot wide. With your hands on the hips, slowly bend forward while keeping the foot firmly on the ground. In case, if you feel that you may fall, then you can bend the knees a bit. Once you are about halfway to the floor, move the hand from the hips and interlock the hands behind your back while in that same position as shown in the picture. Maintain this posture for about a minute or so and then come back to the starting position.
The above exercises if done diligently, only after consultation from the treating provider, goes a long way in relieving tension from the neck and shoulder and is quite an effective Traps Stretch.
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