Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Trapezius

is a big, diamond-shaped muscle that hooks onto your spine at the top of your neck and to your shoulders. If we could fly, we'd use our trapezius muscle to lift our wings above the plane of our body (and the opposing pectorals on our chest to pull our wings back down below it).

The trapezius muscle is the one that allows us to turn our head around and look over our shoulder. It helps maintain the natural posture of our upper spine and hold the head up. We extend it when we reach forward to give a big person a large hug. We contract it when we pull our shoulders back and down.

When trapezius is not happy the neck gets stiff and there's pain in the shoulders and upper back. Sometimes there's a headache. It's the muscle that asks for a shoulder massage, one of the most non-threating intimate touches we can seek from a friend or acquaintance. It's the muscle under the part where we have to ask someone else to rub the sunscreen. It's a muscle that sometimes needs help.

Right now my trapezius is not happy. There are a few good shoulder-massagers of intimate acquaintance and trustworthiness here at home who can help with that (the same ones who help with the sunscreen in summer). There's also a heating pad and ibuprofen, but I also have a couple of remedies that are even nicer: wine and laughter. I once cured a board-stiff upper back by going to the Ridge Theatre for a Marx Brothers triple bill. I walked in like Frankenstein and oozed out all flexibility and molten warmth. The wine is a trick my mom taught me. Works for other muscle contraction type pain too.

The real fix is to fix what caused the tension, which is general holiday busy-ness and husband working mega-overtime. The latter just will be, and we're sure grateful for the work, given the current threats to our local film industry that are all over the media right now. The former will subside as my last week at the office winds down. I will have to talk myself into walking away from some projects that I had hoped to complete before the end of the year, but I'll be able to continue them when I return, and my boss is great about timelines (thank goodness). When our daughter's play has finished on the 19th that will be good too, although I wouldn't trade it for anything. She's enjoying it so much.

Tonight is my husband's work party - fancy supper out, dress up and all. I'll forgo the wine while I am there because I have agreed to be the D.D. (also I think boozing with the big bosses and the people you boss is really risky and unwise) But maybe I'll go look for a Marx Brothers video to enjoy when we get home tonight. The wine is ready, and I'm sure I can find another shoulder massage. That trapezius will be happy soon, I'm sure.

Question: Where's your tension spot?

mompoet - just slightly clenched but still able to back up the car

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