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Treating rhomboid muscle pain

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Rhomboid muscle pain is pain felt between the shoulder blade and spine in the upper back. It is caused by straining, stretching or tearing of the rhomboids. The rhomboid has two parts – the minor rhomboid muscle and the major rhomboid muscle. Sudden movements, repetitive strain injuries and injuries to the muscle causes stretching or tearing of the rhomboid muscle and result to stiffness and pain under the neck and the shoulder blades.

Rhomboid muscle is a muscle of the upper back for the movement of the arm and support movement of the shoulder blade. The rhomboid muscle is very thin and shaped like a triangle.

Causes of rhomboid muscle pain

  • Improper way of twisting the body or a jerking motion can result in mild to severe back pain.
  • Repeated lifting of heavy objects or straining the ligaments such as lifting heavy objects without using the legs for leverage.
  • Vehicular accidents

    Pain and loss of movement or shoulder blade pain or rhomboid pain.

  • Sports injuries
  • Repetitive muscle strains
  • Playing sports that use racket or bat such as baseball, tennis and golf and throwing movements in football, baseball and bowling.
  • Poor posture
  • Compressing the upper back nerve such as frequently placing the hands above the head


  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Pain and loss of movement or shoulder blade pain or rhomboid pain
  • Compression of the nerve that result to severe pain and movement difficulties


  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected shoulder and upper back muscles. Avoid performing activities that result to further straining and injuries.
  • Apply ice on the area to lessen the pain and the inflammation. Apply the pack for at least 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours.
  • After 2 days apply heat pack or a hot compress to lessen the stiffness and the spasms of the upper back. Heat improves blood circulation and relaxes tight and sore rhomboid muscles.
  • Wrap the affected area using compression bandage to lessen the inflammation. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent problems with circulation.
  • Elevate the area by sitting upright as much as possible to increase flow of blood in the area and for fast healing of the condition.
  • Massage the affected area to eliminate muscle knots and lessen the pain. Massage also loosens the tight and strained muscles that cause the pain. Another alternative is using a foam roller to massage the sore rhomboid muscles to lessen the tension and the pain.
  • Avoid poor posture to relieve upper back and rhomboid pain. When sitting on the chair, the forearms should be straight and level with the floor and the arm in “L” shape. The feet flat on the floor and avoid cross-legged while sitting. The screen of the computer should be at the level of the eye and take a break by flexing the shoulder and back to make them relax.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on rhomboid muscle pain is for learning purposes only. Learn to manage the discomfort by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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