Severe rhomboid pain...please help!

Hey guys I currently dealing with some fairly severe rhomboid pain…would love to hear yer thoughts.

I started off with a bit of tightness in that area a few weeks ago…felt like a slight strain or tightness in the rhomboid…my PT did a bit of manipulation (compression of the upper spine)…this made things a lot worse I have to say…I got some deep tissue work done in the days following this and the pain subsided quite a bit.

Until yesterday…I’d been hunched over my laptop all day and by evening the muscle was again really really tight…today I can’t really take deep breaths without sharp pain in the region. I’m chomping down painkillers with limited relief.

What do you guys think? Is it just a muscular issue…the fact that the deep tissue work improved the problem might suggest that…or could it be a pinched nerve or something else.

Would love to hear what ye think…this is killing me…really bummed out as I’m just after recovering from a hammy tear.

This could be really really trying to tell you something.

ya well it didn’t help matters that is for sure…but unfortunately i’m chained to the desk for the time being with study and work commitments. Granted, its not ideal and it’s undoubtedly a factor for the pain but any ideas in sorting out the problem aside from stretching at desk, posture etc.?


iv seen one…cant say he helped a whole lot…he manipulated the upper back but the tightness in the muscle was pretty much the same.

John come on fella. Work it out man…

Either prioritize work & study or health.


Not simples unfortunately…giving up study and work to train, although ideal, isn’t really an option. Don’t think work/study and health have to be mutually exclusive.

Obviously improved posture at my desk, less time “hunched over” are preventitive factors i need to work on…but im just wondering has anyone any experience with this type of injury or treatment ideas?

Thats true.

I’d been hunched over my laptop all day and by evening the muscle was again really really tight.

Ok so by your rationale everybody that works or studies at a desk will automatically have upper back issues…brilliant. I guess i’ll abandon my six years of study and my only source of income in that case. Thanks for your help.

On a serious note, for anyone who’s interested…i did some trigger point work on the pectorals and the pain in the upper back region has subsided a good bit.

your rigght in that if you keep doing what your doing, you’ll keep getting what you have. And yes, office people world over suffer crazy tightness. But, you got to do what you got to do.
Office problem areas are
Hip flexors
Infact any area that attaches to the shoulder blade.
Lower back - is a by product of the hip flexors / thighs.

Thats just a short list.
Im only using my phone for this right now, so no links, search and study Self Myofacial Release. You use a tube for thighs, and a hard foam ball for your rhomboids.
Or pay for therapy, like Tens, acupuncture, massage.
I would try to find better positioning for your laptop??

Yeah, like a top shelf or cupboard.

Just until the pain ceases & the muscles recover.

I know, call me a brain surgeon, what an idea.

Find someone that does massage, lay on front, have hand in small of back with palm up, the scapula will lift. Using thumb start from below scapula and run thumb up around front of scapula to over the clavicle to where the scapula and clavicle meet. You will feel the muscles roll back into place. Yes there is a bit of pain but it works for me.

Stretch your pecs and neck muscles as well.

Can you find a place to stand up and work? You tend to shift and move more this way.

It’s simply a posture issue and you are not doomed for a life with pain b/c of your desk time (studies/job/whatever). I’ve had similar issues in the past and massage/manipulation therapy only helped for 15 minutes at best (talk about not getting for your money’s worth). You need to do some exercises to correct your posture as those muscles aren’t going to get any balanced stimulus by just sitting in front of a computer even if you’re doing athletics or another sport.

A simple test to confirm whether it’s a muscular/postural issue is to go stand with your back against a wall (heels, butt, upper back and hopefully your head as well). Turn your feet slightly pigeon toed (toes in and heels out, but still against the wall), tighten up your quads and relax your abs and shoulders. Just stand there for 5 minutes or so and see what happens to your rhomboid pain. You can also do some scapular adductions (pinch your shoulder blades together, not up, and release) after the 5 minutes has passed to furhter improve your shoulder position in relation to the other load joints. Repeat as needed througout your day of sitting. If your head doesn’t make contact to the wall after this (without you actively putting it there) your thoracic back might need a bit more work to help the pain.

you can also isolate the rhomboids, as in when about to do a 1arm Row with a dumbbell, just use the scapular to pull, and don’t bend the arm.
Same with pull downs, but do em one arm, not 2.
Shoulders usually, not always, but a lot of the time are ‘out’ due to hips being ‘out’.
Again, mostly due to tight hip flexors /quads. Did i also see you mentioned a pulled hammie??
Sounds like some serious posture work, both therapy and exercises is needed.
Remember, what you see here is ‘online’ and only ‘guessing’. You really need to get infront of somebody.

Do you have a lot of curvature in your lower back when you stand? A little bit is normal and healthy but too much can cause upper back tightness. If this is the case try doing hip flexor stretches and more ab work to help balance out the postural changes from being hunched over a desk all day.

Forgot to add it won’t work if your right leg is shorter than the left.

I get issues in the same area. I often use a lax ball either lying on ground, or standing against wall. I would look at all relevant structures such as lats, pec’s, levator scapulae. etc. Pretty much anything to do with scapula, get length back into. It could be fascial restriction with nerve entrapment if it’s not residing. Need to break down any and all adhesions in area. Just my two cents.