My trapezius muscle has been killing me as of late and has really been hurting my posture. I have been doing exercises to stretch and relax my trapezius such as squeezing my shoulders back, shrugging my shoulder, and stretching my head to my shoulder laterally. These exercises have been making my shoulders hurt even more, and it feels it inflames it. So I was just wondering what can I do to relax this muscle. When I massage it I can feel that it is swollen, so I know something is irritated. I have not been lifting weights or exercising much. What exercises and stretch can I do to relieve this tension?
Shrugging might just continue the discomfort. Have you tried heat and/or ice?
As Jocelyn mentioned a foam roller may help, or a tennis ball against the wall with your upper back pressed to the ball.
Are you at a computer all day putting more stress on your traps? You may get some relief by gently stretching often at your desk, relaxing the muscle and not tightening as shrugs do.
There is a difference in my mind between tightness and swelling. Tightness is a situation that can be easily managed, swelling is more severe and a professional may be advisable.