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Understanding Active Trigger Points in the Trapezius Muscle

Illustration of Trapezius muscle anatomy in medieval drawing style

Dear readers,

As the founder of the JANMI Method, I am delighted to delve into the fascinating world of active trigger points in the trapezius muscle and how they contribute to pain conditions. Understanding these nuances can greatly enhance your well-being and empower you to manage muscle pain more effectively.

The Trapezius Muscle: An Overview

The trapezius muscle is a large, diamond-shaped muscle that spans the upper back, extending from the base of the skull down to the middle of the spine and across to the shoulder blades. It is divided into three regions: the upper, middle, and lower trapezius, each with distinct functions.

The upper trapezius is responsible for elevating and rotating the scapula, aiding in shoulder movement. The middle trapezius retracts the scapula, pulling the shoulder blades together, while the lower trapezius depresses and rotates the scapula downward.

Active Trigger Points in the Trapezius Muscle

Active trigger points are hyperirritable spots within a muscle that are painful even without palpation. These points can cause referred pain, meaning the pain is felt in a different location than where the trigger point is located. In the trapezius muscle, active trigger points often result from muscle overuse, poor posture, stress, or trauma.

Common Pain Conditions Caused by Trapezius Trigger Points

1. Tension Headaches: Trigger points in the upper trapezius can refer pain to the temples and base of the skull, leading to tension headaches. This is a common complaint among individuals who spend long hours at a desk or experience high levels of stress.

2. Neck Pain: Active trigger points in the trapezius can cause significant neck pain and stiffness, often misdiagnosed as cervical spine issues.

3. Shoulder Pain: Referred pain from the trapezius can manifest in the shoulder, leading to discomfort and limited range of motion.

4. Upper Back Pain: Trigger points in the middle and lower trapezius can contribute to upper back pain, particularly between the shoulder blades.

5. Arm Pain: In some cases, trapezius trigger points can cause referred pain down the arm, mimicking symptoms of conditions like rotator cuff injuries or even thoracic outlet syndrome.

Little-Known Facts About Trapezius Trigger Points

- Emotional Stress Link: Emotional stress can exacerbate trapezius trigger points. The trapezius muscle often tenses up in response to psychological stress, leading to the activation of trigger points.

- Sleep Position Impact: Poor sleep positions, particularly sleeping on the stomach, can aggravate trigger points in the trapezius muscle. Ensuring proper sleep posture can mitigate this risk.

- Cold Sensitivity: Trigger points in the trapezius are sensitive to cold. Exposure to cold drafts or air conditioning can trigger pain in individuals with active trapezius trigger points.

- Breathing Influence: Shallow breathing patterns can contribute to the development of trigger points in the trapezius muscle. Encouraging deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help relax the muscle and prevent trigger point formation.

Managing and Treating Trapezius Trigger Points

At JANMI Method, we emphasize a holistic approach to managing and treating trigger points. Here are some effective strategies:

1. Trigger Point Therapy: Direct pressure is applied to the trigger points to deactivate them, providing immediate pain relief. This is often combined with massage techniques to enhance muscle relaxation.

2. Posture Correction: Improving posture, especially for those who spend long hours sitting, can significantly reduce the strain on the trapezius muscle. Ergonomic adjustments and exercises can help achieve better posture.

3. Stress Management: Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and reduce the likelihood of trigger point activation.

4. Stretching and Strengthening: Regular stretching and strengthening exercises targeting the trapezius and surrounding muscles can improve muscle balance and prevent trigger point formation.

5. Heat Therapy: Applying heat to the trapezius muscle can help relax tight muscles and alleviate pain from trigger points.


Understanding the role of active trigger points in the trapezius muscle and their contribution to various pain conditions is crucial for effective pain management. By adopting a holistic approach and incorporating strategies such as trigger point therapy, posture correction, and stress management, you can alleviate pain and enhance your overall well-being.

At JANMI Method, we are committed to providing personalized care and empowering you with the knowledge and tools to take control of your health.

Warm regards,

Paulius Jurasius

Founder, JANMI Method

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