In my alignment-based workshop for the upper body, we had a homework to create awareness of how much we use our Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapula muscles in every day activities. We usually feel the tension right on top of the shoulder just to the side of the neck. Take a moment to touch that area on your right and on your left to identify your tense trigger points.  One of the jobs for these muscles is to elevate a scapula. Here is a list of our daily observations:

  • putting bread in a toaster
  • applying makeup
  • doing hair
  • standing and talking to a person
  • brushing a dog
  • pushing grocery cart
    • holding a cup of coffee/tea (see picture)
  • Adjustment: bring my elbow next to my torso so my right shoulder is not elevating

    Look at my elevated right shoulder – building up tension Fix: draw elbow towards the body

  • stir lemonade
  • brushing teeth
  • folding laundry
  • writing
    • driving (see picture)
  • Look at my elevated shoulders and position of the arms Fix: adjust the back seat and grab the wheel from the bottom so pits of the elbows are pointing up

  • typing on the computer
  • sleeping on one side
  • crossing arms
    • lifting arms (see picture)
  • Elevated left shoulder in the first image to the left – build up tension Fix: external rotation upward elevation of the scapula – look at the space

  • eating
  • cooking
  • breathing

The list can go on and on. As you can see, we have adapted our Upper Trapezius along with Levator Scapula to be involved in many every day functions. No wonder we experience pain right on top of the shoulders. This is a common request in our therapy ball massaging sessions and Thai Yoga massage. Start paying attention to your regular habits and change them gradually. Watch my video for a quick fix of these overused and abused muscles. Enjoy rolling!