Other Name(s): Cervical myalgia, neck tension syndrome, cervical strain
Definition: Pain the trapezius muscle.
Areas of Body Directly Affected: Shoulder and/or Neck
Recurrent pain in the trapezius muscle, which is a very large but thin muscle located between the shoulder and neck. May be accompanied by a tender “knot” in muscle. Worse after stressful events at work or home.
Try to find the aggravating factors and eliminate them (see below). Train in shoulder relaxation methods (controlled breathing, visualization, etc.). Ice-use a sheet of blue ice or a bag of frozen peas for 15 minutes at the end of work or after stressful events. A brief period of use of anti-inflammatory agents, such as Motrin or ibuprofen may be useful. After the constant pain has resolved and is less intense, gentle shoulder strengthening can be started. These can be directed by a physical therapist.
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Modifying Computer Work
The keyboard or other frequent handwork may too high-the keyboard should be at the level of the elbow. A high keyboard will require you to elevate or shrug your shoulders when keying. The mouse may be too far away-bring it close to the keyboard so that you do not have to reach for the mouse. Increase the acceleration on the mouse so that you can move the cursor over the whole screen just by moving the wrist. Change your position so that you can rest your forearm(s) on the desk-this will help reduce the load to the trapezius muscle.