|Neck Pain Relief Trapezius Myalgia|
Trapezius myalgia causing chronic neck pain
Neck pain has been steadily increasing over the past two decades and is now second to back pain, the most common musculoskeletal disorder. Women are more likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain, in particular those who engage in repetitive tasks such as working at a computer keyboard. A new study on women with neck pain found that specific strength training exercises led to significant prolonged relief of chronic neck muscle pain chronic neck muscle pain defined as a clinical diagnosis of trapezius myalgia.
We have examined details of the trapezius muscle in an article on neck muscle strain, where we detail specific muscles related to the neck and problems associated with each. Expression of pain by a lowered blood flow of the trapezius muscle was also found in patients with chronic neck pain due to work-related chronic trapezius myalgia and in patients with chronic neck pain persisting after a previous car accident whiplash trauma.
Most of us are troubled by neck pain at some point in our lives. Today's computer dominated workplace can be especially tough the neck. Poor neck posture results because so many of us sit for long periods with shoulders slumped and heads extended toward monitors. Women are more likely than men to develop and suffer neck pain. While actively employed, these women experience sensations of localized muscle pain, tenderness to touch, stiffness, and constant muscle fatigue. In particular, computer work has been associated with neck pain symptoms, and more specifically pain from the trapezius muscle, or trapezius myalgia, is frequent in women engaged in repetitive and monotonous work tasks.
There is evidence that certain exercises designed to strengthen neck muscles can help break longstanding cycles of neck pain from trapezius myalgia. A study on physical exercise on chronic neck pain published in the January 2008 issue of Arthritis Care and Research has found that women with work related neck pain experienced significant and long lasting relief by regularly practicing five specific neck muscle strengthening exercises. General fitness workouts only reduced the neck pain slightly.
The study involved women with 79 percent using a keyboard for more than three-quarters of their working time. They first answered a questionnaire about their neck pain and then underwent a clinical exam to confirm a diagnosis of trapezius myalgia (muscle pain in the trapezius muscle, which extends along the back of the neck). Participants were assigned to three intervention groups: those who did supervised specific strength training exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles, those who did high intensity general fitness training on a bicycle ergometer, and a control group that received health counseling but no physical training. Both exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks.
The results showed that the general fitness training group showed a small decrease in neck muscle pain only immediately after exercise, while the specific strength training exercise group showed a marked decrease in pain over a prolonged training period and with a lasting effect after the training ended. The specific strength training of the neck and shoulder muscles is the most beneficial treatment in women with chronic neck muscle pain.
The study also showed that the reduction in pain occurred gradually in the specific strength training exercise group, with trapezius muscle pain gradually decreasing as muscle strength increased. Although the general fitness training decreased the pain only temporarily, the authors note that even minor decreases in pain may be enough motivation to overcome barriers to exercise, and the resulting increase in fitness may benefit overall long-term health.
The research indicates that strength training of the painful trapezius muscle 3 times a week for 20 minutes should be recommended in the treatment of trapezius myalgia.
The study used five exercises that involved the use of hand weights to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles. Three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), for 20 minutes per session, participants performed three of the five exercises, doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (each set lasting 25 to 35 seconds) for each exercise. The exercises changed from session to session but always included dumbbell shrugs. The weight load was gradually increased during the study, roughly doubling in 10 weeks.