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Despite the ability of the trapezius fibers to work together as a unit, the lower fibers are often weak and underutilized and the upper fibers are often tight and overutilized for lifting, carrying, and pulling, as well as maintaining a forward-head posture. This contributes to the commonly encountered elevated shoulder postural deviation. Additionally, prolonged kyphotic posturing, such as occurs with driving and computer work, may lead to shortening of the scapular protractors (serratus anterior and pectoralis minor) and excessive lengthening and tension in the upper and middle portions of the trapezius. The scapula will appear protracted Client Homework: Upper Trapezius Stretch 1. Begin seated or standing, facing forward. 2. Inhale as you lift your head up, reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. 3. Exhale and tip your head toward your shoulder. 4. Rest your hand on your head, staying relaxed as you gently pull your head toward your shoulder to increase the stretch. Editor's note: The Client Homework element in Functional Anatomy is intended as a take-home resource for clients experiencing issues with the profiled muscle. The stretches identified in Functional Anatomy should not be performed within massage sessions or progressed by massage therapists, in order to comply with state laws and maintain scope of practice. Palpating the Trapezius Positioning: client prone with arm at side. 1. Locate the medial border of the scapula. 2. Palpate medially along the muscle belly with the edge of the hand toward the spine. 3. Follow the broad muscle belly along each of its three separate fiber directions: upwardly with a pincer grip toward the occiput, horizontally toward the upper thoracic spine, and at a downward diagonal toward the lower thoracic spine. 4. The client resists scapular retraction to ensure proper location. with palpable tension and possible trigger points will be noted in the upper trapezius and levator scapula, as well as the middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles. Lengthening of the shortened scapular protractors is essential to relieving pain and dysfunction in the associated elevating and retracting musculature. Christy Cael is a licensed massage therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Her private practice focuses on injury treatment, biomechanical analysis, craniosacral therapy, and massage for clients with neurological issues. She is the author of Functional Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Palpation for Manual Therapists (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). Contact her at Yo u r M & B i s w o r t h 2 C E s ! G o t o w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e t o l e a r n m o r e . 41

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