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Lower Trap Strain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hey everyone, I'm Bob, i'm new to the forum. I would appreciate anyone's input and advice on this, it is bothering the heck out of me. Thanks a lot!

6 weeks ago, i was doing chinups with a weighted belt going for a 4 rep max. I got my 4th rep, felt good and went for a 5th, i got it, then on the way down from the bar i felt sort of a tear/rip in my back.. Didn't feel too severe, but more of a dull aching pain.

I went to PT for a few weeks, and i seem to make progress, then try to do very minimal lifting or workout on my rowing machine with very low resistance and then i'm back to ground zero. Even opposite arm and opposite leg lifts are troublsome (because it involves raising and holding the arm above shoulder level) She diagnosed it is a lower trap strain. When i first went in, she said it was a grade 2 strain because it hurt upon contact and was very swollen, etc.. I think it has improved to grade 1 status, so basically it doesnt' hurt upon contact, but range of motion and stabilization is troublesome.

The things that cause pain are: lowering my arms to my sides against resistance(like an iron cross, the opposite of shoulder lateral raise i guess) also raising my arm overhead causes pain, and stretching sometimes causes pain, also at random times back flexion or extension can hurt like bending over to pick something up (so squatting also causes pain trying to keep the back flat), BUT sitting for extended periods of time is the BIGGEST TROUBLE!. (I am a college student, and it is difficult to sit through 50 minute classes, especially 4 or more of them per day.

I saw a chiropractor, he thinks it could possibly be a ligament strain in addition to a muscle strain, and he said to do hot/cold alternating for 10 minutes each for an hour. After the soreness is mostly gone (which it is pretty much, it is more a nagging pain that comes up when i sit for too long), then do 3-4 times per day just moist heat. Is this the right approach?? Also, i have been recommended that i wear a back brace and rib binder to help retain heat to help repair the muscle. Any thoughts on this??

I don't know, it is really getting on my nerves. I am ticked because i love my workouts and it is a huge stress reliever for me. I would just like to be able to do squats, and bench and biceps, triceps etc.., and things that aren't directly involving that muscle area at least to begin with. I know it will be a while before rowing and chinups again.

I know i need to rest for a couple weeks, but should i also be stretching? or just leave the dang thing alone and let it rest completely. Stretching seemed to be doing good, and then yesterday i stretched after the moist heat and i felt the nagging pain all day off and on. I wonder if static stretches is not a good idea because i need to be able to properly warmup and muscle and get it moving (which i cannot because i am not lifting...grrr...)

Also does anyone have advice on how i should progress once (if) the pain goes away for good? I have thought i could first do things that don't directly involve that muscle, like benching and biceps, triceps, legs (isolation work rather than squatting since that requires a lot of back stablizing) Any thoughts?

So does anybody have any advice. I know i gave a lot of information, sort of a brain dump. But thanks for your time. If something i said isn't clear, please ask me because i need any help you can offer! It seems to get better ever so slowly, but i want to be sure i am on the right track and taking the right approach because it seems that i am becoming increasingly limited in the activities i can do..and maybe complete rest (no stretching even) is the best idea. But how to deal with the sitting in class also is a big issue as well.


Thanks everyone



  • Did you have an MRI yet? I went to ER before when my Doctor was on vacation. After a long wait and only an xray I was sent home with percocet. I was told only your family Doctor can order a MRI. So after taking anti inflammatories I worked through the pain and 3 months later I told my Doctor I need an MRI. I know I should've got one in November but ended up in February with backpain so bad after working I couldn't get up. I'm off work since February. The only thing that's helping is from my pain management Doctor(anesthetist) is giving me trigger point injections for referred pain and epidurals for the leg pain. Are you having any leg weakness or numb? My last resort would be surgery and if I still have pain in January then I'm seeing my second opinion Orthosurgeon. See you around. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • Hi Charry. Thanks for your response. No, i am not having leg pain. I went to a doctor as well, forgot to mention, and he did some reflex tests in my legs as well as knee extension and leg lifts, etc...and no pain. So i don't think that is an issue. But thanks for your input.
  • One more thing to add. I am a side sleeper, and i since reading some info on it, i have been sleeping with a pillow between my knees for a few years to keep my spine aligned properly. Is this the right approach?

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