Trapezius Tear Test

Learn about trapezius tears and strains, their symptoms, causes, and how to use our Trapezius Tear Test template. Discover Carepatron's benefits for physical therapy.

By RJ Gumban on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

Use Template
Trapezius Tear Test PDF Example
ToolbarShare uiAI Icon

What is a trapezius muscle tear?

A trapezius tear, or strain, occurs when the trapezius muscle is overstretched or torn due to injury or overuse. This muscle, which extends from the back of the neck and thorax to the shoulder blades, is essential for upper body movements and supports the neck and upper spine.

A trapezius tear can result from an acute injury, such as a violent twist or collision, leading to immediate pain and stiffness. A tear or strain in the trapezius muscle can significantly impact your ability to move your upper body and maintain proper posture.


The symptoms of trapezius strains and tears can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper back, neck, or shoulders.
  • Visible swelling or bruising.
  • Stiffness or decreased range of motion in the shoulders and neck.
  • A burning sensation in the affected area.
  • Headaches due to referred pain from the trapezius muscle.
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty performing everyday tasks.

Causes of trapezius muscle issues

Trapezius strains and tears can result from various causes, including:

  • Repetitive motions or muscle overuse during lifting, pulling, or sports activities can lead to an upper back muscle strain.
  • Inadequate warm-up or stretching before physical activity can increase the risk of muscle strain.
  • Sudden impact or trauma from accidents, falls, or sports injuries can cause an acute muscle injury.
  • Sudden, forceful movements that overstretch or tear the muscle.
  • Maintaining poor posture for extended periods can strain the trapezius muscle.
  • Occupations or sports that require heavy lifting, repetitive motions, or impact can increase the risk of strain or tear.

What is a Trapezius Tear Test?

The Trapezius Tear Test is a series of physical examinations to assess potential strains or tears in the trapezius muscle. The primary goal of the test is to determine the presence and extent of a trapezius muscle strain or tear, guiding further diagnostic evaluations and treatment plans. It helps identify discomfort, limited range of motion, and asymmetrical movements that indicate muscle injury.

The test includes a visual inspection for discolorations, bruising, or redness; neck movement assessments with and without resistance; and manual muscle tests for the upper, middle, and lower trapezius. Manual muscle tests for the upper trapezius involve assessing the strength and function of the upper part of the trapezius muscle, which can help identify specific issues, such as strains or tears in this area.

A positive result, indicated by pain, limited range of motion, or muscle weakness during the tests, confirms the potential for a trapezius tear or strain. This noninvasive test is valuable for diagnosing and monitoring conditions affecting the trapezius muscle, helping healthcare professionals develop appropriate treatment plans.

How to use our Trapezius Tear Test template

Our Trapezius Tear Test template is designed to help healthcare professionals accurately assess potential trapezius muscle strains or tears. To use our template effectively, follow these steps.

Step 1: Download the template

First, download the Trapezius Tear Test template from the Carepatron platform. Ensure you have the latest version to access the most accurate and up-to-date instructions. Having the most recent template ensures that you are using the best practices and the most reliable methods for the assessment.

Step 2: Gather patient information

Begin by filling in the patient information section at the top of the template. This includes the patient's name, age, and test date. Accurate patient information is crucial for proper documentation and follow-up. Ensuring this information is correctly entered will help maintain comprehensive records and facilitate effective communication among healthcare providers.

Step 3: Explain the purpose and procedure

Before starting the test, briefly explain its purpose to the patient using the information provided in the template. Ensure the patient understands the steps involved and what to expect during the procedure. This helps gain the patient's cooperation and reduces their anxiety. Clear communication ensures the patient is comfortable and aware of the test's significance.

Step 4: Conduct the test

Follow the detailed test procedure outlined in the template. Perform a visual inspection for discolorations, bruising, or redness in the trapezius area. Have the patient rotate, extend, and tilt the neck with and without resistance. Instruct the patient to shrug their shoulders with and without resistance. Have the patient lie prone, retract the scapula, and resist firm pressure applied to the scapula.

Step 5: Record the results

After conducting the test, use the checkboxes in the template to indicate whether the result is positive or negative. If positive, specify the rating based on the observed signs. Add any additional notes as necessary. Complete the healthcare professional information section with your name, signature, and date. Proper documentation of the results ensures that all relevant information is captured and can be used for further medical decision-making and follow-up.

Benefits of using our template

Our Trapezius Tear Test template is designed to help healthcare professionals accurately and efficiently assess trapezius muscle strains or tears. Here are three key benefits of using our template:


Using our template ensures that the Trapezius Tear Test is conducted consistently every time. This standardization reduces variability in test results and improves the reliability of assessments, making it easier to compare results over time or across different patients.

Time efficiency

Our template simplifies documentation, allowing healthcare professionals to quickly and accurately record patient information, test procedures, and results. This efficiency frees up more time for patient care and other critical tasks.

Comprehensive documentation

The template provides a structured format for capturing all relevant details of the Trapezius Tear Test, including patient information, test procedures, and results. Comprehensive documentation is crucial for maintaining accurate medical records and facilitating better communication among healthcare providers.

How do you know if you tore your trapezius?
How do you know if you tore your trapezius?

Commonly asked questions

How do you know if you tore your trapezius?

A torn trapezius muscle often presents with symptoms such as pain, burning, stiffness, decreased muscle strength, and reduced range of motion in the neck and shoulders. Due to referred pain, headaches may also occur. The trapezius muscles are crucial in supporting posture and spine stabilization, and their injury can significantly impact daily activities.

How is the trapezius tested?

The trapezius is tested through physical examinations, including visual inspections, neck movement assessments with and without resistance, and manual muscle tests for the upper, middle, and lower trapezius. The symptoms and severity of a trapezius strain vary, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and functional limitations.

How long does a trapezius tear take to heal?

A mild muscle strain (Grade 1) of the trapezius may take approximately 2 to 4 weeks to heal. Recovery time can vary based on the severity of the tear, with more serious muscle tears potentially requiring longer periods, advanced interventions like physical therapy, or even surgery.

Join 10,000+ teams using Carepatron to be more productive

One app for all your healthcare work