Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I work at a desk all day and get muscle pain and spasms along the top of my shoulders. What can I do to help with this problem?

Answer:

The muscle along the neck, shoulders, and upper back is the trapezius. It has several separate but interconnected sections (upper, middle, lower trapezius). The uppr trapezius mmuscle is the one that shrugs the shoulders. Overuse or chronic repetitive use of this muscle can lead to a painful condition called <>itrapezius myalgia. Office workers often complain of trapezius myalgia. A few simple stretching and strengthening exercises may help. It's always a good idea to take frequent, short breaks during the work day. Just bringing the arms overhead and taking a deep breath can relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. Lifting the shoulders up toward the ears and relaxing them back down (shoulder shrug) is another quick and easy exercise for this problem. A strengthening program can also help. Studies show that muscle pain is reduced with high levels of activation. The most commonly used exercises for trapezius myalgia include shoulder shrugs, one-arm rows, upright rows, reverse flys, and lateral raises. These exercises are done with handheld weights. Depending on your work situation, you may be able to do these exercises during short morning and afternoon breaks. When getting started, some people prefer training with a physical therapist or other qualified exercise care specialist. This can help prevent improper form and technique that can lead to injury. Once you've established a program of regular exercise, you'll find it much easier to Lars L. Andersen, MSc, et al. Muscle Activation During Selected Strength Exercises in Women With Chronic Neck Muscle Pain. In Physical Therapy. June 2008. Vol. 88. No. 6. Pp. 703-711.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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