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68 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j u l y/a u g u s t 2 0 2 3 Many of the interfaces between the traps and these neighboring muscles must allow for gliding between the two for them to do their jobs. We tend to focus our anatomy studies on insertions, origins, and actions, but areas of glide are functionally important. Our ability to have complexity in our movements requires our muscles to work both together and independently— through gliding. How can the trapezius, which shares so many attachments with other muscles, glide without disturbing the others? Fascia to the rescue! critical thinking | ANATOMY FOR TOUCH Trapezius Un-Trapping Your Traps By Rachelle Clauson and Nicole Trombley Trapezius overlying the latissimus dorsi muscles. Bright yellow remnants of the subcutaneous fat shimmer along the midline, with the recognizable V-shape of the lower trapezius and the latissimus dorsi spanning to the sides. We see the white flat tendon of the lats peeking out from underneath the traps, where the two muscles glide in relationship to each other. Image courtesy of 1 The trapezius is a longtime favorite in bodywork. Our clients' frequent requests for focus on the upper back and shoulders come from the daily hits their traps take—whether from their desk jobs and driving their cars or from lifting, throwing, and rowing motions in sports. If there were an awards ceremony for muscles, the trapezius would certainly be a nominee in the Most Frequently Massaged category. Reviewing the insertions, origins, and actions for this well-known muscle is helpful, but what if we refocus our lens to look at not only where the traps anchor, but also where they glide in relation to their neighboring anatomy? What more might you be able to know about how the trapezius relates to its surroundings, and what could that mean for how you touch? WHERE THEY ANCHOR The kite-shaped trapezius lies just beneath the skin and subcutis of the upper back with attachments over a broad area connecting the scapula and clavicle with the skull and all the thoracic and cervical vertebrae. These wide- ranging attachments give the trapezius the impressive capability of elevating, retracting, upwardly rotating, or depressing the scapula, depending on which part of the muscle is firing. But the trapezius anchors to more than just bones. While the attachments along the spine of the scapula are well recognized, the traps also have a fascial anchoring that we seldom read about in our anatomy books. The trapezius finds broad connection to the scapula through its insertion into the tough infraspinatus fascia. 1 WHERE THEY GLIDE The trapezius overlies (partly or entirely) quite a few of the major movers and shakers of the back, neck, and shoulders, including the splenius capitis, semispinalis capitis, levator scapulae, posterior scalenes, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi.

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