Struggling with stiff trapezius muscle

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 24, 2019 12:58 PM GMT
    Did anyone else struggled with this issue while working out on a regular basis? I can't seem to get rid of it. It has really slowed down my growth.
    I have tried everything from using very light weight to skipping lot of exercises which might aggravate the situation. I hardly do bench press or overhead press anymore because those were the ones which made it worse.
    I have also taken some physiotherapy which did help but then when I go back to gym, it comes back. I doubt it's just posture issue, because even with lower weights, I seem to aggravate it.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 4007

    Jan 24, 2019 6:28 PM GMT
    If bench press aggravates your trapezius, you likely have a form issue. With correct form, bench press should not involve the trapezius much at all. You should be working to isolate the chest as much as possible when you bench press, even if it means pushing less weight. Unless you're a competitive powerlifter, the goal of lifting weights is not lifting weights - it's developing your muscles. Use the weight that allows you to maintain correct form and develop your muscles properly.

    The pain returns when you exercise, even using light weights, because the trapezius is injured. It may take a while to heal. Like it or not, you need to rest it until you can exercise it without making it worse. As it is, you're only re-injuring yourself each time you work out. Ice it in the evenings, even if you don't think you "need it" (a bag of frozen peas makes a great icepack that conforms to your shoulder). Consider taking an occasional anti-inflammatory (over-the-counter like Aleve or prescription like Celebrex).

    You probably already know a lot of this. You need to take it seriously.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 5263

    Jan 24, 2019 8:49 PM GMT
    How long has this been going on? Like b4b said, it sounds like a minor injury and a problem with form. If it has only been a couple of weeks, simple stretching exercises should be good for it but not cure it- - that takes rest. if the pain is minor but unpleasant, I use a version of IcyHot but in a applicator with a roller, kind of like deodorant. I find the small roller ball can sometimes isolate the injured fibers and while the chemical feels good, it is the stretching of the muscle that is actually helping. You might give it a shot. A prescription muscle relaxer might help but again, it will only help speed the recovery. I injured an elbow recently and it took about three weeks to heal. Wouldn't hurt to hire a trainer when you're feeling better. I'm not usually a big fan of trainers but in a half hour, you could run through a few examples of your routine and get his thoughts on form.

    One last thing, Traps also get sore when you're stressed. if anything like that is going on, nothing you do in the gym will fix it though I do agree a hard workout always feels necessary when I'm stressed.
  • JDuderrr

    Posts: 515

    Jan 24, 2019 10:32 PM GMT
    I had this same issue in spades toward the end of last year. I worked through it without changing to lighter weights or altering my routine. The one and only thing that helped--one of the shower heads at the gym has selectable water spray pressure patterns. I would set the water as hot as I could stand it and let it blast the trap while I stretched, particularly up over my head in a hand waving (or metronome) motion and then elbow pointing straight down in an arm swinging motion. Then I would repeat this as I ratcheted through the various shower spray patterns. For a while the relief was instantaneous but temporary, and then one day I just forgot about it and it was totally and permanently gone. Looking back, it seems absurd that I could go from that much pain to none at all, but that's what happened. Application of moist heat is a common physical therapy principle. You don't usually do this at home because the water goes everywhere (and you gotta pay the water bill), but your gym may have the perfect setup just waiting for you. I feel ya, bud. Just look ahead and visualize the day when you forget you ever had this pain. That day will come.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 5263

    Jan 24, 2019 11:53 PM GMT
    Had one more thought, a technique I got from P90x. Stand like at attention with your arms and hands straight down your sides. Try to stretch the right hand further down your leg while bending your neck and head in the opposite direction, ie the left shoulder. You can rock it across your chest to the other side while shifting your other hand down your side. Do the whole thing slowly and really feel the stretch. Back and forth. Best Trap stretch I've ever felt. Works really well with plain old tension, too.
  • neon4u

    Posts: 1232

    Jan 25, 2019 4:14 AM GMT
    Try to incorporate an overall stretching routine. The more you work a muscle group the more the fibers tighten. To prevent injuries the muscles need to be stretched. Most people omit this necessary part of working out. It has really helped me.
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    Jan 25, 2019 11:15 AM GMT
    neon4u saidTry to incorporate an overall stretching routine. The more you work a muscle group the more the fibers tighten. To prevent injuries the muscles need to be stretched. Most people omit this necessary part of working out. It has really helped me.

    Yeah, I have been devoting a good amount of time at the end my workouts towards stretching. Also after I wake up, I do some slow stretching.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 25, 2019 11:18 AM GMT
    bro4bro saidIf bench press aggravates your trapezius, you likely have a form issue. With correct form, bench press should not involve the trapezius much at all. You should be working to isolate the chest as much as possible when you bench press, even if it means pushing less weight. Unless you're a competitive powerlifter, the goal of lifting weights is not lifting weights - it's developing your muscles. Use the weight that allows you to maintain correct form and develop your muscles properly.

    The pain returns when you exercise, even using light weights, because the trapezius is injured. It may take a while to heal. Like it or not, you need to rest it until you can exercise it without making it worse. As it is, you're only re-injuring yourself each time you work out. Ice it in the evenings, even if you don't think you "need it" (a bag of frozen peas makes a great icepack that conforms to your shoulder). Consider taking an occasional anti-inflammatory (over-the-counter like Aleve or prescription like Celebrex).

    You probably already know a lot of this. You need to take it seriously.

    So the bench press actually affects my neck more than the Trapezius muscle. Yeah I have taken some long breaks from work out. Can't seem to completely get rid of this injury. I use more heat pads on a regular basis which does help. It's true that I have tried more or less most of the things you might find around on internet or what an orthopedist would suggest.
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    Jan 25, 2019 1:06 PM GMT
    I have a tight, chronically sore muscle right next to my spine, up near my right shoulder blade. I don't know if it's actually the trapezius, but massage and Rolfing haven't done much for it. It's not a form issue because I work out with a trainer who is very strict about form, and we mostly use machines, a la Dorian Yates, to keep me safe. So far, the only exercise it has hindered is narrow-grip lat pulldowns, and switching to wide-grip has allowed me to continue progress.
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    Jan 26, 2019 7:33 PM GMT
    paradox saidI have a tight, chronically sore muscle right next to my spine, up near my right shoulder blade. I don't know if it's actually the trapezius, but massage and Rolfing haven't done much for it. It's not a form issue because I work out with a trainer who is very strict about form, and we mostly use machines, a la Dorian Yates, to keep me safe. So far, the only exercise it has hindered is narrow-grip lat pulldowns, and switching to wide-grip has allowed me to continue progress.

    Yeah, it seems I need to live with it, and modify/change my workouts. I don't think that my form is bad as I have lifted with some other lifters, and they weren't really to pin-point anything wrong with it.