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The Traps: What Are They?

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

The Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius muscle may just be one of the most important muscles in our bodies. It is a posural and active movement muscle, which means that its jobs are to keep you up straight and perform cervical spine and shoulder movements. It has many different attachment points, it extends from the base of your skull and down your spine, and then cascades off your shoulder blades.

You use your traps to tilt and turn your head and neck, stabilize your shoulders, rotate your arms, and to elevate, rotate, and retract the shoulder blade. As you can see, it wears tons of different hats, and because of this, it has many different opportunities to affect EDS/HSD patients.

Many of our patients have scapular dysfunction, or cervical spine instability/pain. If your bones/joints are unstable, often our muscles will spasm to attempt to keep everything in place. When this happens, it can cause your muscles to fire at 100%, causing increased fatigue and muscle pain.

If your trapezius is irritated, there can be some other symptoms that accompany it, including muscle stiffness, shoulder and neck pain, muscle spasms, tingling and numbness in one or both arms, and a decreased range of motion. This can be caused by overuse (which happens faster for those of us with EDS/HSD), stress (since most people hold stress in their shoulders, this tensing of the muscles can lead to soreness), and poor posture.

There are a few different ways to release your trapezius muscles, but for those with hypermobility or diagnosed Ehlers Danlos syndrome, it's important to consult your physical therapist before trying to release them at home. A quick google search for low impact stretching and releases will be beneficial for anyone suffering from trap pain!

Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to your medical concerns. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment. This post is informative only.

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