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Rhomboid Muscle Pain

Rhomboid Muscle Pain: What Should You Know?

To understand the causes of rhomboid muscle pain and how to treat it, it is important to first understand the anatomy. The rhomboid muscles make up a huge collection of muscles in your upper back. Rhomboid major and rhomboid minor are the primary and secondary scale degrees. Shoulder stability is maintained by these and other muscles in the shoulder girdle.

An upper back muscular group known as the rhomboid complex comprises the muscles mentioned above. The rhomboids are important in upper limb movement and stability of both the shoulder girdle and scapula. In the space between your shoulder blades on each side of your back, you’ll find these muscles. Attach your spine to the sides of your shoulder blades. The serratus anterior, trapezius and rhomboid major and minor work with the rhomboids to anchor the scapula and shoulder joint in order to prevent winging

Several factors may result in rhomboid muscle pain, including:

  • Straining or tearing of ligaments, which link bone to bone, is called a sprain
  • Tendons link muscles to bones, and tension may cause them to stretch or rip
  • Muscular contraction in the form of spasm

Symptoms of rhomboid muscle pain

Rhomboid muscle pain will be felt in the upper back, just behind the shoulder blades. When you move or breathe, the discomfort may become worse.

Both sprains and strains may result in the following symptoms in addition to pain:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising

It may be difficult to move the affected region. The onset of a muscle spasm is swift. The muscles in your upper back will be tense and painful. A mass beneath your skin may also be visible.

Risk factors and possible causes

You may strain or injure the rhomboid muscles by overworking your back, shoulders, and arms by engaging in any activity that strains these areas.

Sporting activities such as baseball toss, tennis toss, volleyball serve, golf club swinging, rowing and lugging a big rucksack. 

You may also strain these muscles by slouching when you work at a desk or computer.

Rhomboid muscle spasm is more common if:

  • You overuse the rhomboid muscle in sports such as golf and tennis.
  • You haven’t warmed up sufficiently before participating in a sport.
  • Poor thoracic rotation can refer pain to the rhomboid muscles and poor scapular mobility – leading to neck pain and shoulder blade pain.
  • As a result of not exercising or playing for some time, your muscles have become weak.
  • You’ve worked out too long, and your muscles are worn out.
  • One possible reason for a spasm is that:
  • You are suffering from rotator cuff tendonitis.
  • Staying still for a long time might be challenging.
  • Injuring yourself by overworking your muscles
  • You’re dehydrating yourself (dehydration)

Treatment Options for Rhomboid Muscle Pain


Some of the structures associated with the rhomboid muscle have a poor blood supply, which is why they can struggle to heal on their own. It is the oxygen and nutrients in our blood supply that helps to heal these structures.

Prolotherapy involves the injection of a regenerative solution into these structures to provide a direct supply of what is needed to heal them and provide pain relief.

As the treatment is helping to treat the root cause of the problem, it is deemed to be a permanent fix. For more information about this treatment alongside video testimonials, please click on the image below:

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Stopping the activity that produced the injury is the first step in treating a rhomboid muscle injury. Taking a break will allow your muscles to repair themselves. Ask your doctor whether it’s safe to return to your favourite sport.

Physical therapy may help you improve the range of motion of the affected muscle group. There are exercises that a physiotherapist may demonstrate to aid in the recovery of your physical abilities. If you have a foam roller at home, you may use it to massage and loosen up tight muscles. Avoid poor posture is also a very important step in order to get rid of the rhomboid muscle strain.

Self-care techniques for rhomboid muscle pain 

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen are examples of anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief.

Use an ice pack on your back muscles for the first two to three hours. Apply ice to the muscles for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Ice packs are most effective in the first several days after an accident. It reduces pain and inflammation.

Using a wet, warm cloth for your back for 15 to 20 minutes might help alleviate muscular spasms a few days after an accident. Until your muscles have recovered, you will need to alter or discontinue the activities that give you discomfort. Rather than rowing or playing tennis ball, you may need to run instead.

Physical therapy, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, may be prescribed by your doctor to aid in your recovery. Maintaining a good posture can also help minimize rhomboid muscle pain.

Trigger point injections may help break the pattern of irritability and spasm in rhomboid muscles. Rhomboid strains may recover in a few weeks, but a more serious injury may take six weeks.

Recovery Tips

The degree of your rhomboid sprain or strain will impact how soon you heal. Rhomboid injuries that aren’t too severe may heal on their own in days. More serious such medical injuries may take weeks or even months to heal fully.

Rhomboid discomfort may be avoided by following these steps.

  • Make sure to warm up for at least five to ten minutes before beginning your workout or activity, and then take a few minutes to stretch.
  • To prevent overusing your arm and shoulder muscles, take frequent pauses while playing.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper grammar and spelling. Employ the services of a coach or a professional to double-check your pitch, serve, or golf swing.
  • Before, during, and after your exercises and sports, drink lots of water.
  • Using heating pads for instant relief.
  • Sit up straight whenever you use a computer. If you’re prone to slouching, invest in an ergonomic chair and adjust it to maintain your lower back upright.

When to See The Doctor?

It is best to get help from your doctor or therapist if you are experiencing persistent shoulder or upper back discomfort.

Consult your physician straight away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Your arm is paralysed.
  • You have a swelling shoulder or arm.
  • Sudden discomfort
  • You’re experiencing persistent pins and needles.
  • It’s either hot or chilly to the touch on your shoulder or arm.
  • You’re nauseous to your stomach
  • You are suffering from a fever.

A more serious ailment, such as a shattered bone or a severe muscle tear, might cause these symptoms.

Rhomboid injuries may lead to long-term health issues. Your rhomboid muscle ache will go away if you quit the action that caused it. It’s possible that continuing to work out or playing sports will worsen things.

Rest and patience will help rhomboid injuries recover. Healing time might range from a few days to many months, depending on the severity of the damage.

If the discomfort from a rhomboid muscle injury does not subside, make an appointment with your family physician or an orthopaedic specialist. Surgery and other treatments may be necessary for more serious injuries to recover.

How To Prevent It?

Check the following tips for preventing rhomboid muscle tension or muscle spasm:

  • Perform pre-activity warm-up and stretching routines to avoid injury.
  • Take regular pauses to stretch your neck and back while working at a computer.

Rhomboid muscle soreness may be avoided by following a few simple guidelines. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When playing a sport, make sure you use good technique. 
  • Taking breaks from exercise and activities when you’re feeling worn-out is a good idea.
  • Lifting big things should be avoided wherever possible, and appropriate forms should be used.
  • On the other hand, don’t carry big bags on one shoulder.
  • Stay in shape by exercising and stretching regularly.
  • Keep your body straight when sitting, standing, and walking.
  • During long periods of sitting, take regular pauses to move around, walk, and stretch.
  • For both sports and work, be sure to wear proper safety gear.

If you have shoulder pain or upper back pain that doesn’t seem to get better, see your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you relieve rhomboid pain?

You can treat your rhomboid pain by following any of these strategies:

  • Do some gentle shoulder stretches
  • Try to sit up straight
  • Apply ice or heat to your shoulder
  • Try to keep your arms and shoulders down
  • Use pain-relieving or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • You can also try a topical pain-relieving gel or cream

Why does my rhomboid muscle hurt?

You may hurt your rhomboid muscles by bad body postures, particularly while sitting curved at your personal computer (PC) for too long. Excess muscle strain in your pectoralis major muscle and inhibition of serratus anterior can also cause pain in your rhomboid muscles by overloading them. Additionally, pulling motions are also known to cause pain in the rhomboid.

How do you release a tight rhomboid?

You can release tight rhomboid trigger points by doing a lower neck and upper back stretch by following these simple steps at home:

  1. Stretch both your arms out in front of your body.
  2. Hook your one hand on top of your other hand.
  3. Reach out lightly to feel your scapula (shoulder blades) stretching away from each other.
  4. Now, bend your head onward.
  5. Hold the stretch for 12 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times.

How long does a rhomboid strain take to heal?

The healing time of rhomboid muscle strain depends upon its leading cause and severity of the injury. It may take only a few weeks to heal completely if you have a mild to moderate rhomboid strain. But if you got a severe muscle injury, it may take about six weeks or longer to heal.

Does rhomboid pain go away?

The relief of rhomboid pain entirely depends on the cause or severity of the muscle injury. If you have mild pain, it can get better within a few days or a week, but severe muscle injuries can take up to a few weeks or even months to heal completely. You can also try shoulder stretch, ice therapy, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for fast pain relief.

How do you massage a rhomboid?

You can massage your rhomboid muscles at home by using a massage ball. Place the massage ball between your scapula (shoulder blades) and spine. Now, push it against the wall and start to roll the ball over the affected area. You may feel quite comfortable from your rhomboid pain.


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  2. Rhomboids. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com
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  4. Yi, K.-H., Lee, H.-J., Choi, Y.-J., Lee, J.-H., Hu, K.-S., & Kim, H.-J. (2020). Intramuscular Neural Distribution of Rhomboid Muscles: Evaluation for Botulinum Toxin Injection Using Modified Sihler’s Method. Toxins, 12(5), 289. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12050289
  5. Yoo WG: Changes in pressure pain threshold of the upper trapezius, levator scapular and rhomboid muscles during continuous computer work. J Phys Ther Sci, 2013, 25: 1021–1022.

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