Rhomboid pain is a type of discomfort felt in the upper back, between the shoulder blades and the spine. It is sometimes referred to as shoulder blade pain or interscapular pain. People may experience a strain, throbbing pain, spasm, persistent dull pain, pressure, knife-like sensation, pulling, or burning sensation in this area. Occasional pain in this region is not a cause for concern, but constant discomfort or pressure can be a hassle.
To understand the causes of rhomboid muscle pain and how to treat it, it's important to first understand the anatomy. The rhomboid muscles of the upper back connect the inner edges of the shoulder blades to the spine. The serratus anterior, trapezius, and rhomboid major and minor work with the rhomboids to anchor the scapula and shoulder joint to prevent them from moving. Excessive muscle tension in the pectoralis major muscle and inhibition of the serrata anterior can also cause pain in the rhomboid muscles by overloading them.
Rhomboid muscle pain can be caused by adopting poor body posture, especially when sitting in front of a computer for too long. You can also strain or injure your rhomboid muscles by overloading your back, shoulders, and arms when doing any activity that puts pressure on these areas. The first step in treating a rhomboid muscle injury is to stop the activity that caused it. If the discomfort doesn't go away, make an appointment with your family doctor or an orthopedic specialist.
Some of the structures associated with the rhomboid muscle have poor blood supply, so they may have difficulty healing on their own. To treat rhomboid muscle pain, you should rest and avoid activities that put pressure on your upper back. You can also apply ice or heat to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce tension in your muscles.
Strengthening exercises can help build up your muscles and improve posture. If you have shoulder or upper back pain that doesn't seem to improve, see your healthcare provider or physical therapist.