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Upper trapezius/middle back pain

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  • Upper trapezius/middle back pain

    Hello,
    24 y/o male here.

    Background: I have been in very good shape most of my life due to sports and lifting from a young age, but strained my left trapezius once in highschool.

    About 8-10 years ago I strained my trapezius badly, to the point where my head was titled to the left and stuck in this position with my ear almost touching my shoulder. I was given muscle relaxers by my PCP and it resolved itself in a week.

    I have experience no other issues with my trapezius until the last few months. I am on week 5 out of 7 of the 4 day hypertrophy template and have had a lot of tightness in my upper left trapezius. I get a sharp pain in my middle back due to this tightness on occasion...the weird part is there isn't a certain position that necessarily causes this pain. It occurs randomly when my arms or torso are in different positions.

    I have been able to function at 100% in the gym but I am worried about this because it has happened twice in the last 6 months.

    when I put the bar on my back to high bar squat, I can feel it trigger the pain in my middle back/shoulder blade. When I actually squat, I have no pain...only when putting the bar across my back. I also have brief pain when I unrack the weight from my back. It feels like someone is stabbing me in my back. Probably 4/10 pain

    whenever I manually stimulate my trapezius I can also instantly feel the tightness and pain the middle of my back

    Is there anything I can do about this in the meantime? It doesn't feel like it's getting better or worse...it's been the same for about 2 weeks. Should I consult my PCP?

    Thank you in advance for your replies!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Apilarski0811 View Post
    Hello,
    24 y/o male here.

    Background: I have been in very good shape most of my life due to sports and lifting from a young age, but strained my left trapezius once in highschool.

    About 8-10 years ago I strained my trapezius badly, to the point where my head was titled to the left and stuck in this position with my ear almost touching my shoulder. I was given muscle relaxers by my PCP and it resolved itself in a week.

    I have experience no other issues with my trapezius until the last few months. I am on week 5 out of 7 of the 4 day hypertrophy template and have had a lot of tightness in my upper left trapezius. I get a sharp pain in my middle back due to this tightness on occasion...the weird part is there isn't a certain position that necessarily causes this pain. It occurs randomly when my arms or torso are in different positions.

    I have been able to function at 100% in the gym but I am worried about this because it has happened twice in the last 6 months.

    when I put the bar on my back to high bar squat, I can feel it trigger the pain in my middle back/shoulder blade. When I actually squat, I have no pain...only when putting the bar across my back. I also have brief pain when I unrack the weight from my back. It feels like someone is stabbing me in my back. Probably 4/10 pain

    whenever I manually stimulate my trapezius I can also instantly feel the tightness and pain the middle of my back

    Is there anything I can do about this in the meantime? It doesn't feel like it's getting better or worse...it's been the same for about 2 weeks. Should I consult my PCP?

    Thank you in advance for your replies!
    Hey, sorry to hear about this issue.

    Have you tried adjusting the load you are squatting to see if you have decreased symptoms?

    Since it isn't worsening is a good sign. Any recent traumas to the area? Did you recall anything specific during onset of symptoms?

    One thing to note - although the descriptor you are utilizing to define the issue is "tight", we actually don't have a definition for this and can't correlate it to anything meaningful (which is a good thing in your scenario). The best definition we have is the area doesn't feel as you'd expect it to (often comparatively to the other side). Given the prior history of symptoms in this area, this also plays a role in the resurfacing of symptoms and concern (understandably so).

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    • #3
      Thank you for your reply! I'm trying to familiarize myself with pain science and since being introduced to barbell medicine, I've worked through some issues like this already this year with my groin.I appreciate the work you guys are doing and the knowledge you are bringing to light about pain science.

      I have since adjusted the load squatting and my back has felt better. The pain and "tightness" seems to be subsiding. Thank you again for your advice, I think I just needed some reassurance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Apilarski0811 View Post
        Thank you for your reply! I'm trying to familiarize myself with pain science and since being introduced to barbell medicine, I've worked through some issues like this already this year with my groin.I appreciate the work you guys are doing and the knowledge you are bringing to light about pain science.

        I have since adjusted the load squatting and my back has felt better. The pain and "tightness" seems to be subsiding. Thank you again for your advice, I think I just needed some reassurance.
        No problem at all. Glad the feedback was helpful. Keep us posted!

        Comment

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