Upper trapezius stretch

Prevent neck pain from occurring by regularly stretching your trapezius a few times a day

Upper trapezius stretch

Source: Best Health Magazine, September 2008; Illustration by Kagan McLeod

By mid-afternoon, do you find yourself sitting at your desk, kneading your neck muscles and wishing you had a masseuse on speed dial? You’re not alone. More than 25 per­cent of the population experiences neck pain‘and it’s more common in women than men. To fend off this ache, try stretching your trapezius’the kite-shaped muscle that covers the upper and back part of the neck and the shoulders’a few times a day.


You can even do this right at your desk, says Toronto-based chiropractor Stephen Burnie, who leads a team of healthcare professionals that evaluates neck-pain treatments. He suggests this simple upper trapezius stretch: Sitting up straight, with your feet flat and shoulders back, grab onto the bottom of your chair with your right hand. Then slowly tilt your head sideways, bringing your left ear toward your left shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch along the right side of your neck and shoulder. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds; repeat on the opposite side. Do this stretch a few times a day to help prevent a strain from starting in the first place.

This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!