To understand the damage to your trapezius nerve you first need to understand the anatomy of this tissue. The trapezius muscle is a large, triangular, folded muscle located in the back of the neck and thorax. When considered together, this pair forms the shape of a diamond or a trapezoid, hence its name. It is most involved in the movement of the shoulder girdle, so it is considered to function as the leg muscles above the back. When damaged you may see trapezius nerve damage symptoms.
Anatomy of a trapezius muscle:
The trapezius muscle is a large muscle bundle that extends from the back of your head and neck to your shoulder. It is composed of three parts:
As mentioned above, the trapezius muscle is divided into 3 parts: the upper limbs, the middle chords (called the middle trapezius), and the lower cords (called the lower traps). The separation of the different, distinct parts of this muscle is about function. In other words, each place does something different. The upper trapezius extends from your occipital bone behind your skull and the nuchal line behind your neck. The muscle can also be attached to the spinous processes of one to six cervical vertebrae. Attachments of the lower trapezius tendons come from seven cervical spinous processes at the thoracic level 12.
The muscle fibers of the triangular traps move to form the spine of the scapula and the acromion of the scapula. They also attach to the outer third of the clavicle or collarbone.
However, Nerve innervation in the trapezius muscle is interesting, as it is transmitted by the cranial nerve. This sensor called the spinal accessory nerve, or cranial nerve XI, exits your brain stem and travels from your brain down to the trapezius muscle, providing motor inputs.
The upper trapezius, the part that falls above your shoulders, may lift or raise your shoulder girdle. It also helps to stretch, tilt, and rotate your neck, which has the effect of turning your head back, sideways, and turning it. The circular motion takes the head to the opposite side where the neck and shoulder muscles are located.
Although shoulder height is a legitimate action of the upper trapezius muscle, this is not always a good thing. If you work at a desk, or your job involves a lot of driving, you probably know this well.
When the shoulder strap is pulled continuously and continuously, it leads to the wrong resistance which can make the above traps permanently tight. The result may be pain, limited mobility, and loss of neck flexibility. Along with the traps below, the upper trapezius also helps to rotate your shoulder up. However, This movement occurs when you raise your arm to the side, giving your shoulders, neck, and upper back a good alignment and your muscles flexing.
The middle trapezius helps to restore the shoulder blades, to the spine. Also, if you sit at a desk or drive all day, this may indicate helpful movement to prevent or control excessive kyphotic posture in that area. The middle trapezius also helps stabilize the shoulder during certain arm movements.
And finally, the lower trapezius muscle has the function of stabilizing the upper and middle action of lowering the shoulder girdle. This is the opposite of the upper trapezius action. The trapezius is a supporting respiratory muscle. This means that it helps to open the small respiratory tract above the chest.
But instead of relying on this muscle for respiratory support, consider improving the strength of your main and powerful respiratory muscle — the diaphragm.
7 major Symptoms of trapezius nerve damage:
It may include:
Visible trapezius wasting.
Shoulder visibly lower than the opposite shoulder.
Some pain in trapezius muscles.
Crick in neck.
Reduced range of movement at the shoulder.
Treatments for trapezius nerve damage:
Stretching and physiotherapy are the most commonly prescribed treatments for these conditions as well as for military neck (Cervical kyphosis).
Physiotherapy can be effective in treating trapezius muscle palsy. Treatment is aimed at restoring function to the trapezius muscle. Physiotherapy treatment may include:
The practice of functional movements
Stretches to Loosen Your Trapezius Muscles
Ear to shoulder
Wide-leg forward fold
Most people have a vague idea that it’s part of their shoulders and neck in some way and know they need to loosen it. But they aren’t necessarily clear what it does.
To be specific, it’s part of your shoulder girdle. It’s responsible for moving and rotating your shoulder blade, stabilizing your arm, and extending your neck. Basically, it does a lot of work, making it an easy place for stress and tension to land. This is especially true of the upper part of the trapezius in your lower neck.
To loosen and ease this muscle, you need to do a little shoulder work, a little neck work, and a little upper back work.
Ear to shoulder
You can start off sitting or standing, but as part of this series, sitting on the ground, on a mat, is recommended.
Slowly and with ease, take your right ear toward your right shoulder. It’s natural for your left shoulder to lift as you do this. If that happens, ease your head back toward the center until you can relax your left shoulder back down.
Lift your right hand up and over your head, resting your hand on your left cheekbone. Do not pull on your head now, though. Simply rest your hand there for just slightly more pressure. This very gently stretches your upper trapezius.
Breathe as you sit here for at least 30 seconds.
Gently release this side, and then ease your left ear toward your left shoulder and complete the stretch on the other side, breathing deeply through it.
2. Crocodile pose
This move can be uncomfortable at first. It may feel odd to relax facedown, but if you breathe slowly and let go, this can really help ease your trapezius.
Lie down on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart, and rest your hands one on top of the other under your chin.
When you’re in place, lie flat and rest your forehead on your stacked hands. This will actually release lower back compression as well, but the main thing you want to visualize and focus on here is lengthening your spine and releasing any tension in your upper back and neck.
Breathe deeply and try to relax here.
3. Cobra pose
This pose releases tension in your lower neck and trapezius and stretches your throat. It also increases flexibility in your spine and strengthens your back and arms, helping prevent future trapezius issues.
Lift your head and place your hands on the floor next to your shoulders, keeping your arms parallel and your elbows close to your body. Press the tops of your feet into the floor and inhale deeply as you begin to lift your head and chest. If possible, straighten your arms and keep in mind that straightening them completely will arch your back quite a bit.
Whether you lift all the way to straight arms or not, keep in mind that you want your neck and head (cervical spine) to be on the same curve. You will lift your head as well, but you want to simply ease it up.
Check your chin. It’s incredibly common to jut your chin out in this pose and let your shoulders creep up toward your ears, so take a moment to roll your shoulders back and down, pulling your shoulder blades closer together as you pull your torso through your upper arms, and ease your chin back.
Hold this for a few breaths and release it on an exhale.
Inhale as you lift into this pose at least two more times, holding it for a little bit longer each time.
4. Cat-Cow pose
This move relieves tension in your cervical spine and stretches your back muscles as well as the front of your torso. Keep in mind that when using this pose specifically for your trapezius, you want to focus on the area right between your upper shoulder blades, alternately arching and releasing your neck.
Push up onto all fours, into a tabletop position. Your hips should be directly over your knees, your shoulders over your elbows, and your elbows over your wrists.
As you inhale, lift your head, chest, and sitting bones, letting your belly sink, and arching your back.
As you exhale, round your spine toward the sky and release your head into the Cat pose.
Continue taking deep breaths, moving with your breath as you do, inhaling as you arch your back, and exhaling as you round your back.
5. Wide-leg forward fold
This pose decompresses your spine, strengthens your upper back and shoulders, and lengthens and eases your neck muscles.
Push to standing and, keeping your feet parallel, widen your stance to approximately a leg’s length. With your hands on your hips, release your torso and slowly bend forward, keeping all four corners of your feet rooted. If you feel unstable in this pose, bend your knees slightly and release your hands to the ground, shoulder-width apart.
After you feel full rooted in this forward bend, interlace your hands behind your back, hug your shoulder blades, and release your hands toward