The rhomboid muscles are situated in the upper back region, and they connect the spine with your shoulder blades. Any tear or stretch in the rhomboid muscle results in rhomboid strain. When you have to carry a lot of load for an entire day, you can experience rhomboid muscle pain. The muscle is very thin and triangular shaped. It is skeletal muscle and helps in maintaining a good and healthy, posture.
What are the Functions of the Rhomboid Muscle?
- It retracts the scapula by pulling it back to the spine.
- It stabilizes the scapula and holds it near the rib cage.
- The scapula’s medial border is elevated.
What are the Two Types of Rhomboid Muscle Pain?
Rhomboid major (large)
Any bony projection from the back of the vertebra which can be felt under our skin is called spinous process. When there are any spinous processes in the second, third, fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae, there is rhomboid major. The projection gets attached to the triangular surface situated at the scapular spine’s root. The scapular spine divides the shoulder blade’s back surface into two portions.
Rhomboid minor (small)
When there are spinous processes in the first thoracic vertebra, seventh cervical vertebra and lower part of the nuchal ligament which is made up of supraspinous ligaments and situated in the backside of the neck, rhomboid minor occurs. This projection also attaches itself to the spine of the scapula which is triangular.
What are the Causes of Rhomboid Muscle Pain?
1. When a person bends over in an awkward position or does a lot of heavy weight lifting in the gym, or there is a twist in the body or swinging a golf club too violently, there is a tear in the rhomboid muscles. The fibres of the muscles tear due to extreme pressure which results in rhomboid pain, and you are unable to move your shoulder correctly.
2. If there is any sudden or awkward movement, there can be rear and tear in the rhomboid muscle causing rhomboid muscle pain.
3. Whenever there is rupture of any fibre or rhomboid muscle, it causes rhomboid pain.
4. If the rhomboid muscle is compressing any nerve, there is a pain in the muscles.
5. Any poor posture like sitting for a prolonged period in the desk doing work in computers weakens the muscle, and there are extra pressure and strain in the muscle causing back pain.
6. Ay instant lifting of heavy things in your back pulls the rhomboid muscles and causes pain, injury, and anxiety in the muscles.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Rhomboid Muscle Pain?
- Pain and Loss of Movement
The patient is unable to make movements, and there is the pain in the rhomboid muscles, i.e., between the spine and shoulder blades. This pain is also referred to as rhomboid pain or shoulder blade pain. Don’t move your arms in this condition as the pain increases.
- While breathing deeply, you will pain in the shoulders.
- The upper back area of your body becomes tender.
- There are palpable muscle knots.
- When the body heals from the rhomboidal muscle pain, there is swelling in the portion which makes it even more uncomfortable.
- Due to swelling, the nerves get compressed which leads to acute shooting pain. Movements become even more difficult and painful at this stage.
Treatment for Rhomboid Muscle Pain
Most of the times, there are no severe injuries so non-surgical therapies can heal the pain. There are stretches, exercise and some medication to be done to lessen the pain. If there is no severe damage, you can recover within two weeks. Serious injuries take about six weeks or more time to heal.
Let us see the treatments to be done at home:
- Using ice packs, gel packs, crushed ice, and frozen foods can be helpful in lessening the pain. To avoid direct contact with the skin, you can wrap any of them in some clean cloth and hold on to the affected area 20-30 minutes. For the first few days, make sure you do this one in every 4 hours.
- NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication can be given by doctors to reduce inflammation and pain. Aspirin and ibuprofen are the most widely used NSAIDs. Consult a doctor to know the dosage that should be used.
- Heat helps in relaxation of tense muscles, and the tight muscle knots are broken. Take a warm towel and place it on your back. You can also use a heating pad instead. If you see the area is swelling, don’t heat it as they can treat infections.
- Massaging is helpful, but it becomes difficult to press yourself in the back. You can use a back massager so that the knots are broken.
Let us see the exercises and stretches that are to be done:
The Upper Back Stretch
The arms should be stretched in front of your body and clasped together. Move your body forward and bend your head. Your neck and upper back will be extended, and you will have to repeat it for 30 secs and five times.
The Neck Side Stretch
Place your face front side and stand in neutral position. You have to tilt the head towards the shoulder. Do this for 30 secs and five times.
Some of the other exercises that can be done are: Side Arm Stretch, Kneeling back Stretch, Door Frame Stretching. You can also ask the person to stand in neutral position, and the arms should be at the side.
The shoulders have to lift up to 5 seconds. Try to squeeze the shoulder blades for 5 seconds and then pull it down and relax.