Trigger Point: Upper Trapezius


Please be sure to refer to What Are Trigger Points and How To Release Trigger Points when working on trigger points at home. As always, please consult with your primary care physician prior to any type of treatment.

Upper Trapezius: Muscular Origins, Insertions, Actions, and Nerve Innervations
Our upper trapezius muscle is located in our upper back to neck. The muscle originates from the external occipital protuberance, the medial portion of the superior nuchal line of the occiput, and the ligamentum nuchae. The muscle fibers insert into the lateral third of the clavicle, acromion process, and the spine of the scapula.

When contracted, the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle extend the head and neck. The nerves that are associated with this muscle are the spinal accessory and the cervical plexus.

Upper Trapezius Trigger Points: Location and Possible Symptoms


The upper trapezius has two main trigger points. The first one is located in the more superficial muscle fibers as illustrated above. The second trigger point is found just underneath the first one.

When the first trigger point is active, you may feel pain into your temple, the back corner of your jaw, traveling down the side of your neck, or into your eye. When the second trigger point is active, you may feel referral pain into the base of your skull.


Corinne D. Bracko-Douglas, CMT, LMT, CKTP is the owner of Dochas Clinical Massage Therapy based out of Columbia, MO. She received her diploma in Clinical Massage Therapy from The Soma Institute in Chicago, IL in 2004. She enjoys teaching others about how to live a healthy lifestyle and still works one on one with clients out of her private clinic. When not working as a therapist she can be found enjoying trail hikes with her wonderful husband, Lee, and their adorable doggos, Shadow and Koda, or trying out fun new workouts to expand her knowledge of the human body and how it functions.

The advice given in these articles is not meant to diagnose. Please always consult with a health care provider before performing any of the techniques described upon yourself.

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