Understanding Rhomboid Muscle Injury

Understanding Rhomboid Muscle Injury

Rhomboids are triangular-shaped sets of two muscles situated in the upper back. It is one of the main muscles which help us to have smooth and controlled shoulder movements. These muscles connect the spine and shoulder blades and help in maintaining an erect upper back posture.

An injury or a strain in the upper back section between your spine and shoulder blade, causes pain. Rhomboid muscle pain is perhaps the most common pain and also considered one of the most frustrating pains than other forms of pain. It usually takes a few weeks to find relief from this pain, but if the pain is severe, it may take six weeks or longer!

Causes Of Rhomboid Muscle Injury

  • The excessive usage of this muscle causes pain such as carrying heavy loads, reaching abruptly to lift heavy weights from high shelves and swinging awkwardly during sports like golf or tennis
  • Also, any sudden twist or turn of the upper body can lead to minor tears of these muscle fibres
  • Additionally, poor postural habits lead to weakness of these muscles


  • Any injury to this muscle can lead to localized swelling and pain in- between the shoulder plates
  • Weakness of rhomboids leads to postural deformities of upper back (slouched/stooped upper back), difficulty in doing overhead activities with shoulders, stiffness in the upper back, shoulder and neck


Having weak rhomboid muscles often go unnoticed and are ignored. Also, patients with pain in the neck and shoulders are often advised to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles. However, it is very important to strengthen the rhomboid muscles, as they belong to the postural muscles that help in stabilizing the shoulder blades against the ribcage that allow one to enjoy smooth and rhythmic movements of the shoulder joints.

Initially, rhomboid pain has to be treated with rest, ice method and other pain-relieving physiotherapy modalities like interferential therapy, shockwave diathermy, and LASER. Kinesio taping too, helps to correct posture as well as to relieve pain.

Hydrotherapy (exercise in the pool) helps patients to strengthen the muscles during pain. Once the pain reduces, activation and strengthening of this muscle has to be started. Thera- bands, free weights and pulleys with progressive weights are used during the strengthening program. Postural re-education to maintain an erect upper back, also plays an important role in recovery.

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