The trapezius muscles connect the head and arms to Base-Line support, and are responsible for alignment of the upper body.
Anatomy, keeping it simple...
The left and right trapezius muscles form the superficial muscle layer of upper back and back of the neck. They extend from mid-back to the back of the skull, curving down the neck and extending out towards each shoulder.
The whole of both trapezius muscles should be free move, without tension or restriction, guiding the head and arms through a full range of natural movement. Like a blanket of muscle, that should be smooth and wrinkle-free.
full range of natural movement
The trapezius muscles attach (via connective tissue) to several bony structures:
Feel for the midline bump on the back of your head, and then move your fingers towards your ears to feel for the ridge where the trapezius muscles attach to the skull.
The midline bump is known as the external occipital protuberance, one of our 5 midline markers for alignment.
external occipital protuberance
The left and right trapezius muscles meet midline, attaching to the spine via the nuchal ligament in the back of the neck, and the supraspinous ligament, from the base of the neck and down the back.
nuchal & supraspinous ligaments
The upper body is aligned when the midline anatomy the trapezius muscles attach to - the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments, can align with the linea alba, creating the median plane.
Feel for all the bony bits where the trapezius attaches near the shoulder:
The direction of the muscle fibres creates 3 sections in each trapezius: the lower, middle and upper trapezius.
Between the middle trapezius sections, that lie over the shoulder blades, there is a diamond/ellipse-shaped sheet of connective tissue.
Movement of the upper body should begin from the lower trapezii (plural), with the whole of each muscle becoming active, spreading up and outwards, to the head and arms.
Think extension and expansion. Like wings spreading wide.
The fibres of the middle trapezius should be fully extendable - from midline to the shoulders, with the shoulder blades well positioned, and able to move freely.
Look at the pictures, feel for the bony attachments and appreciate the shape and extent of your trapezius muscles.
The potential for movement in the upper body is great, but this area can also carry a lot of physical restrictions, resulting in reduced range of movement, imbalance, tensions and pain.
The upper body needs to be supported by your Base-Line muscles to achieve a full range of movement. Pelvic floor Base, rectus abdominis Line.