Michelangelo’s Rebellious Slave is a statue that can be found in the Louvre in Paris. It portrays a muscular young man powerfully twisting his neck and body trying to free himself from the bondage. Looking at it, we see the man’s pain and agony as he tries to escape humiliation at the hands of his masters.
As a massage therapist I also see strained and twisted muscles and imagine the pain and soreness this man likely feels in his upper back and neck, most of all in the Trapezius muscle.
The slavery days of Imperial Rome are long gone, and today we struggle to free ourselves from the bondage of stress, sedentary lifestyle, and modern technology. However, the human anatomy hasn’t changed much since then, and the pain and soreness we feel in our muscles today would no doubt be recognized by slaves of Imperial Rome. Of the 600+ muscles in our body, Trapezius is the one most commonly found to have tightness and painful constrictions. It had likely been the same in antiquity.
Named for its trapezoid shape, Trapezius (Trap for short) is a broad and flat muscle, lying just beneath the skin and covering the upper back, shoulders and neck. It links our backbone to the scull, the collarbones, the shoulder blades and the ribs. It provides the upright posture support, steadies the shoulders, supports and twists the arms and helps to tilt and turn the head and neck.
With such a critical position and so many functions, it’s no wonder that Trapezius commonly gets injured. The most common causes of injury are: slouching asymmetrical posture, awkward lifting, prolonged tilting of head and neck, straps from heavy backpacks or purses, and whiplash from a sporting or a vehicle accident.
Of all the symptoms my clients present, the tightness and pain in the upper back and neck are the most common, and usually it’s the Trapezius. In most cases, massage helps. However, it often takes more than one treatment to feel the relief.
Breathe Spa did not have a clinic in ancient Rome, but there is one in Calgary. If you have pain in the upper back and neck, don’t put up with it. Like the Rebellious Slave, strive to escape your bondage. Look us up at www.breathespa.ca or call 403-457-3060 and make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.