Trapezius Strain

How To Deal With A Trapezius Strain

A trapezius strain is very common in construction workers, mail carriers, weightlifters, restaurant servers and anyone else that constantly is carrying or lifting something heavy.  The trapezius muscle plays a key function in carrying items because it is responsible for rotating the shoulder.  The best way to deal with such an injury is to rest and ice it, then apply heat, followed eventually by stretching exercises.



Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

The rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) method should be the first treatment method for nearly any type of muscle strain.  Rest prevents any further injury from occurring to the muscle while the ice reduces pain and inflammation by narrowing the blood vessels which reduces the lymph and blood flow to the muscle.

Ice should always be applied to a trapezius strain within 48 hours of pain or inflammation.  It is also important to keep the muscle elevated above your heart to reduce swelling which means to avoid laying flat down.

Apply Heat

After the initial swelling has diminished, heat can be extremely helpful.  You can either soak in a hot bath, Jacuzzi or apply a heating pad.  The heat will increase the flow of blood to your injured muscle.

Stretching Exercises

There are a few stretching exercise that can help your trapezius strain as well as strengthen the muscle to prevent further injury.  It is a good idea to continue performing these exercises even after your injury has healed.


Ibuprofen or any other type of anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve swelling and pain associated with your trapezius strain.  These types of medications work by eliminating the production of prostaglandins in your body.


Topical creams such as Icy Hot and Bengay can be helpful in relieving pain as well.  For a severe strain, your doctor may decide to administer a cortisone shot or prescribe you oral steroids.

Trapezius Muscle Strain Symptoms