Our trapezius or “traps” divide into three sections. They have have radically different shapes, fiber directions and primary movement functions. Yet, this does still behave as one muscle. In particular, when our lower traps are weak or inhibited, our upper and middle traps will try to assist.

One of the primary functions of the upper traps is to elevate the shoulders. However, one of the primary depressors of the shoulder are your lower traps. The only other shoulder depressor is serratus anterior. So, any attempt to “help” from our upper traps tends to elevate our shoulders and lock them in a battle they cannot win.

Compressing the Lower Traps

The lower traps run from the your spine up and out in a V-shaped pattern towards the lower, inside edge of your shoulder blades. They pull your shoulder blades down and inward.

When your arms are at your sides they are much shorter than depicted here. In that position, you can use a tennis ball in a sock or a well designed tool like the BackKnobber to reach trigger points in your lower traps.

This reclining position allows you to completely relax the shoulder while compressing these trigger points.

Serratus anterior comes off your ribs and attaches your shoulder blade. It pulls your shoulder blade down and out. To reach your serratus anterior, we recommend using two tennis balls in a sock between your upper ribs and a wall.

Strengthen The Shoulder Depressors

The lower trapezius muscles are activated by drawing the shoulder blades down while keeping the arms straight. Serratus anterior is activated by stabilizing against extending the arms down and out from the shoulder. YTWL is a series of stabilizing exercises designed to engage the lower trapezius muscle. Note that there is no equipment required. This exercise can be done at any time during the day and almost anywhere, including your desk.

Bend slightly at the hips. It is a little hard to see but the model is making a “thumbs-up” with their hands. This is a CRUCIAL aspect of these exercises. Keep your thumbs pointing back behind you throughout the exercise. Tuck your chin and retract your neck.

YTWL exercise

Notice the colored lines on the back of the model. These lines indicate the direction in which your muscles should be moving. You can see that there is a constant downward motion towards the hips. When you are going through the exercises visualize your muscles sliding down your back.

Focus on the area highlighted in orange as your prime activation sight. These are dynamic exercises. However, they should perform them in a slow and controlled manner.

Begin with a set of 5 repetitions. Focus on getting the form correct and activating the proper muscles. Gradually increase to 10 repetitions over 1-2 weeks making sure you keep good form. Increase to 2 or 3 sets as desired.

YTWL By The Letters

Let’s break this acronym down.

Y: From the bent over position straighten your arms and lock out your elbows. Raise your arms overhead to form a “Y”. Your goal here is to keep your upper traps soft and relaxed and you should feel a nice burn in your lower traps and maybe in between your shoulder blades. Hold for one to two seconds before returning to a relaxed position. If you cannot get your upper traps to relax try bringing your arms a little wider.

T: Same positioning as the Y but this time bring your arms out to the side with your wrists in line with your shoulders to form a “T”. Again, the focus is on drawing your shoulder blades down towards your waist and away from your ears. Hold for one to two seconds before relaxing.

W: Bend at the elbows to form a “W” shape with the arms (hands, elbows, and shoulder joint). Pull your shoulder blades down and back and hold for a few seconds focusing on the contraction. Release and relax.

L: From the bent over position draw your elbows back just like you were going to do the “T” but this time bend your elbows with your knuckles facing the floor. Hold your elbows here and then rotate your forearm so that the backs of your hands are facing the ceiling (remember to try and rotate your thumbs back as much as you can). Hold for a brief moment before relaxing.

Professional Treatment With Us

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The lady that assisted me was awesome! I suffer from fibromyalgia and when I left I felt like a brand new person! I plan to return when I get time!

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Janet was great – knowledgeable and she found all my “hot spots.”

Libbey P.

Seriously, if you are looking for massage therapy that actually does your body good–that changes its function for the better and actually makes pain go away–then this is the place you need to come. Not Massage Envy. Not a chiropractor. You need trigger point from knowledgeable experts in the craft.

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Polina D.

Beautiful, relaxing setting. Therapist was knowledgable and professional. I’ll be going back. Thank you.

Jo Ann B.

Janet is very informative. I loved that she explained which muscles/groups she was working on. I learned a lot about my posture and why some of my muscles are not activating. She also provided me with a list of considerations and excercises to improve my posture. I will be back!

Lauren C.

Janet has a unique gift and talent in trigger point therapy. I’m definitely seeing her again!

Jan S.

I loved my experience. Janet is extremely knowledgeable in a vary wide variety of conditions. She is thorough and attentive. Makes you feel right at home!

Jess L.

It’s like an hour of physical therapy (the good parts of P.T. where they massage you and stretch you). She also takes time to explain some ways to help your specific issues. Highly recommend!

Danielle S.

Janet is very knowledgeable and informative. She thoroughly explains where you have weakness and what muscles are over compensating. She gives exercises, stretches, or everyday changes you can make to help you are progress on your own. I highly recommend a visit!

Kate W.

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Rosa V.

Felt much better after the trigger point massage, highly recommend.

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Pamm

What About My Pain?

Clearly, everyone is different. Many of us have additional challenges and complications. Naturally, we tailor our treatment plans to the individual. However, there are common foundations in this work with everyone.

Fortunately, if you are having similar issues, you may find that a just few treatment sessions helps! We will identify and treat root causes of your individual case.

Clearly, everyone is different. Many of us have additional challenges and complications. Naturally, we tailor our treatment plans to the individual. However, there are common foundations in this work with everyone.

We are licensed professionals. In addition, we all have additional training and certifications in advanced techniques. For instance, this includes trigger point therapy, fascial stretching, neuromuscular and movement therapy. Also we offer kinesio taping, myofascial release, cupping, acoustic compression, self-care classes and more. In fact, we often combine several of these techniques into a single session..

Of course, no one wants chronic pain! Fortunately,  can work together with you to help sort out the issues.

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