Muscle Of The Month

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Muscle of The Month

 

Trapezius

The Trapezius is one of the upper back muscles, it is a large kite shaped muscle that runs from the base of the skull then down along either side of the spine to just below the shoulder blades and extends the width of the shoulders. You could argue that this is the largest muscle in the body.

Functions

It stabilises the shoulder blades and facilitates shoulder and neck movements. The upper trapezius of the muscle helps elevate the shoulder blades but also helps to rotate and tilt the neck. The middle portion of the muscle brings the shoulder blades back and provides stabilisation to the shoulder during arm movements. The lower Trapezius helps bring the shoulder blades back down.

Causes of Pain

 Symptoms can be muscle stiffness, shoulder and neck pain, muscle spasms tingling or numbness in one or both arms and decreased range of motion in shoulders and neck.

Symptoms can be brought on by: –

  • Overuse- Repetitive Motions through the shoulder can put stress on the muscle.
  • Stress- People commonly tense the muscle around the neck and shoulder area when under stress, this can lead to muscle soreness over time.
  • Poor Posture- Prolonged poor posture from hunching over a desk or computer keyboard results in the muscle becoming shortened and tight.
  • Weak muscles- the upper back suffers when the lower back muscles are weak and therefore can’t support the upper back correctly.
  • Trauma- this can be a muscle tear to the trapezius from placing too much force through the muscle.

Below are some stretches that you can do to relieve tension in the trapezius.

Stretches

Ear to Shoulder Stretch

  1. Sit up Straight in a Chair
  2. Slowly bend the head to the side taking the ear to the shoulder.
  3. Place the same hand on the head and gently pull it down towards the shoulder for a deeper stretch.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds
  5. Release the head and perform the same stretch on the opposite side.
    The Football Supporter 

    1. Take a scarf or hand towel and grasp both ends.
    2. Lift it above your head and slowly move the scarf from side to side as if you were waving a scarf remember to keep your shoulders down.
    3. This will help improve mobility to the shoulder but if the shoulder is stiff start gently as it can be uncomfortable.


    Isometric Shoulder Wall Exercises

    Shoulder Abduction

    Abduction isometrics strengthen the muscles that lift your arm out to the side and overhead. This motion makes things like putting on a shirt or applying deodorant possible.

    Step 1: Stand with a wall on your right side and your right elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.

    Step 2: Press your forearm against the wall as though you are trying to move your arm away from your body.

    Step 3: Maintain the hold for 10 seconds and then relax the arm.  After doing 10 repetitions, repeat on the opposite side.

    Shoulder Flexion

    This exercise helps strengthen the shoulder muscles that elevate your arm straight ahead. This makes activities like putting away dishes in a cabinet or adjusting a rear view mirror possible.

    Step 1: Stand with a wall in front of you. Make a fist with your right hand and keep your elbow straight.

    Step 2: Gently push your fist against the wall as though you are trying to move your arm out in front of you.

    Step 3: Hold this contraction for 10 seconds and then relax. Complete the exercise 10 times and then repeat with the left arm.

    Shoulder External Rotation

    This exercise helps strengthen the external rotator muscles in the shoulder that help with activities like washing your hair and reaching for a seat belt.

    Step 1: Stand in a door frame with your right elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and your palm facing inwards.

    Step 2: Keeping your elbow firmly against your side, press the back of your right hand against the door frame like you are trying to rotate your forearm away from your body.

    Step 3: Maintain the hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times before switching to the left arm.

    Shoulder Extension

    This exercise strengthens the shoulder muscles used during activities like putting a wallet in your back pocket or reaching into the back seat of a car.

    Step 1: Stand with your back to a wall and your right elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.

    Step 2: Press your elbow into the wall as though you are trying to move the arm backwards.

    Step 3: Hold this contraction for 10 seconds and then relax. Perform 10 repetitions before switching to the other arm.

    Shoulder Internal Rotation

    Internal rotation isometrics activate the shoulder muscles used while reaching behind the back to tuck in a shirt or clasp a bra.

    Step 1: Stand in a door frame with your right elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and your palm facing inwards.

    Step 2: Without allowing your elbow to leave your side, press your palm into the door frame as though you were trying to rotate your forearm towards your abdomen.

    Step 3: Continue to press into the frame for 10 seconds before relaxing your arm. Do 10 repetitions of the exercise before repeating with the left shoulder.

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