How to Release Trapezius Pain

Trapezius pain

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes read

Did you ever wonder where that annoying neck and upper back ache comes from after a long day of work or just bad posture? Your trapezius muscle, or ‘trap’ for short, might be crying out for some attention.

Now, you might be asking, “What on earth is a trapezius?” No worries, it’s not a complicated math problem or a tricky puzzle to solve. It’s just one of the many muscles in your body. It starts from your neck and stretches down to the middle of your back, like a superhero cape. Pretty cool, right?

But what happens when our superhero muscle starts feeling a bit down? Well, that’s where our guide comes in. Let’s explore how you can show your trapezius some love and kick that nagging pain to the curb.

The Root of the Problem: Bad Posture and Repetition

Let’s start by understanding the root of the problem. Your trapezius pain is often the result of repetitive activities or, more commonly, poor posture. You may be working at a desk all day, lifting heavy objects, or just not standing as tall as you could be. But there’s good news. You can significantly reduce that annoying pain by strengthening, stretching, and releasing the tension in your trapezius. So, let’s get to i.t!

4 Exercises and Stretches to Release Trapezius Pain

1. Chin Tucks

Coach Todd demonstrating chin tuck step 1, an effective exercise to alleviate trapezius pain by improving neck posture and reducing strain on neck and shoulder muscles
Coach Todd demonstrating chin tuck step 2, an effective exercise to alleviate trapezius pain by improving neck posture and reducing strain on neck and shoulder muscles
  • You can perform a chin tuck laying on your back or sitting or standing.
  • Gently tuck the chin directly back as if trying to make a double chin. Avoid nodding your head.
  • Hold this position for 2 seconds, then slowly relax your muscles.
  • Repeat 10 repetitions.

2. Scapular Retraction

Coach Todd performing scapular retraction step 1, a key exercise for trapezius pain relief, promoting improved upper body posture and shoulder stability
Coach Todd performing scapular retraction step 2, a key exercise for trapezius pain relief, promoting improved upper body posture and shoulder stability
  • In a sitting or standing position, try to sit as straight as possible. Aim to position the head in a neutral position as possible.
  • Gently pull the shoulders back and squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat 10 repetitions for 3 sets.

3. Upper Trap Stretch

Upper Trap Stretch step 1
Upper Trapezius Stretch step 2
  • Begin in an upright position, either sitting or standing.
  • Stretch one side of the neck at a time.
  • If you plan to stretch the left upper trapezius muscle, bend your head to the right.
  • Place your right hand on the left side of the head to give a gentle overpressure into the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Slowly release the pressure and return to your starting position.
  • Repeat the stretch on both sides for 3 sets.

4. Releasing the Muscle Tension

myofascial release tool

Now, onto the fun part – getting into the muscle with some soft tissue release. This is where you’ll need a tool. Choose a tool you like: your hand, a ball, a hook, a roller, etc. These tools might look strange, but they work well. You can look up “myofascial release tool” online to find the right tool for you.

lacrosse ball to tackle trigger point

Next, find a sore or tight spot on your body. Use your tool on this spot. It might hurt a bit more, but that means you’re doing it right. How hard you press depends on how much pain you can handle. 

Remember, it might be a bit uncomfortable. Try to keep the pressure for up to one minute. After that, rest a bit before you find another sore spot and do the same thing. We often have more than one sore spot because of what we do daily. Do this self-massage 3-5 times a week. 

Consistency is Key

Remember how we mentioned the word ‘consistency’ a few times? Well, we’re going to say it again because it’s just that important. Whether it’s maintaining good posture, stretching, or massaging your muscles, the key to success is being consistent. It’s not about being perfect for a day; it’s about making small, consistent efforts over time.

We understand that forming new habits can be a bit challenging at first. It’s tempting to do a bunch of stretches one day and then forget about them for a week. But for real, lasting change, it’s important to stick with it. Try to repeat the self-massage process 3-5 times a week and try to get in the habit of doing this every week. Over time, it will become a part of your routine – promise!


In conclusion, remember that your trapezius pain is not a life sentence. With a little understanding of the problem, some commitment to change, and a touch of humor, you can overcome it. You’ve got the tools now – exercises to perfect your posture, tips for stretching and relaxing your trapezius muscle, and techniques for soft tissue release.

But the journey doesn’t end here. It’s a continuous process of learning, adapting, and improving. It’s about listening to your body, understanding its needs, and taking care of it. Remember, your body is your lifelong partner, and taking care of it is one of the best investments you can make.

So here’s to taking control of your trapezius pain, standing a little taller, and a happier, healthier you. Remember, every journey starts with a single step, and you’ve just taken a big leap forward. Congratulations, and keep going! You’ve got this.

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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