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Rhomboid muscle pain - 10 years with little relief
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Rhomboid muscle pain - 10 years with little relief

I have had chronic rhomboid muscle pain on the right side for 10 years, and have seen numerous MD's(MRI with no significant problem found), Chiropractors (Adjustments & pressure point message), Physical Therapists (waste of money) and a Neurologist that is currently performing acupuncture.  I self medicate with Ibuprofen, and sleep on an ice pack every night.  In addition, I lay on a baseball and roll over the rhomboid muscle while stretching to break up the spasms for some relief, the ball hits an area that feels like a rope that is in a horizontal position across the rhomboid. Pain radiates from the rhomboid up the right side of my neck, and down my right arm which includes the right shoulder.  Headaches are almost constant.
I will try anything at this point to resolve this issue; any help with this issue would be very much appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi

sorry about ur pain.  have you tried any muscle relaxer meds.  thats the onlyy thing i can think of since u said u get the spasms.  and has your neurologist done a test called emg.  it can at times tell problems in the muscle or nerves.  ibufrofen does not take spasms away.  i have been suffering from spasms of whole body and use to pop advil all day thinking it should heelp.  aske your doc for muscle relaxant at this point.  accupuncture is good.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your response.  I have a medicine cabinet full of muscle relaxers; any effective dose (which has been negligible) is not worth the loopy effect of the medication. Ibuprofen has helped curb the pain intensity; this along with ice gets me from day to day.  If there were an effective surgery procedure available to fix my problem, I would do it in a heart beat.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm sorta' familiar w/ your problem.  Use to play ALOT of
tennis & eventually damaged rotator-cuff but have an idea of
your muscle pain that extends from 'middle trapezius'? I'm
surprised you get relief w/ Ibu. Guess it wks for some for the
inflamm. Never did a thing for me. Only ice-paks & 1/2 lortab-7
(narcotic) & at bed a whole. They sell a clay-filled type flat
cool-pack that lasts 3xlonger than ice by KAZ. It's great at the
scapula area. Works better w/ a very thin towel around it & not
the thick cover. It can be pretty disabling just doing a simple
reach to comb hair. My racket went but I finally found a DR that
sent me to a Sports Medicine Specialist. They appear to know
more abt this than others. PT/chiro's were a waste. You need
time to heal muscles & adjust. My racket went! Cuff was really
bad but just putting on a shirt almost broke a crown. It's been
along time. Don't think any surgery is out there for this + the
scar tissue could create problems. I'll try to find old info &
get back. Meanwhile, what state are you in? There are some
Universities that have sports-division medicine that specialize
in this & some even need people w/ conditions for the professor
to work with. (Not a student)! Do/Can you get your records of
tests done? Also, some chiro ofc's or net sell Biofreeze-gel
that goes deeper than OTC cool gels & numbs for awhile. Later.
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Avatar_n_tn
I appreciate your insight, thank you.  I had shoulder cuff injury about six years ago, and had arthroscopic surgery to repair it.  The right rhomboid injury happened prior to the shoulder cuff injury.  I had my second acupuncture procedure today, and it did seem to have a temporary effect.  When the Neurologist was placing the needles, he place one needle right in the middle of the problem.  I asked what muscle it was, and he said it was the trapezius...but didn't say which one. It's interesting that you brought this muscle up, it sounds like you do have a similar injury.

I did go to a physical therapist where their specialty was sports related injuries...it was a joke.  My current chiropractor is an actual MD, and he was the first in a long line of doctors to target the actual location of the injury.  Locating a source of pain can be more difficult than it sounds, but he took the time with me unlike other MD's.  

To answer your question "what state are you in"...This could sound like a pity party, but you did ask.  I use to be very athletic and in very good shape.  In addition, I could take on any physical or mental challenge and would almost always be successful.  My energy has been sapped, pain is constant, and I can't be the person that I want to be for my family and career.  I am not a lazy person by nature, but I feel lazy because I can't get past the pain to participate in life.  As a result, I'm overweight (I look like an NFL Linebacker - 6' 3" 300 Lbs), for my frame...I'm about 50 Lbs too heavy.

I will take your advice and look for the clay cold packs, and I will continue to check for any updates to this issue.  Thanks again.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yup, sure sounds similar. I too was extremely athletic. Tennis
& snow-skiing were my passion & then things hit. I got the coin
toss that sent me to a Orthopedic Surgeon that sent me to a special radiologist that wk'd w/ a top basket ball team for dx.
Didn't hurt at all, but was a strange 2 hr test watching my
insides on a TV screen. He started a 6" long stylus needle in
upper chest & then continued threading a smaller one thru that &
that 2nd had a camera-tip. Felt like a long thread wiggling
& guided around tissue/cartilage. I had to be awake for breath-
ing purposes (hold-breath) off/on. This was in the 80's & he
relied on the screen to guide it. Way ahead of his time! Said
I was his only patient that never passed out. He said many
walked out when they spotted the stylus & refused. It just felt
creepy inside. That's how I was dx'd. Then referred to Sports
PT. Maybe you need to find who the big buck athletes go to?
Between PT, I had to wear an elastic girdle-type 1/2 shirt to
keep muscles scrunched. I think Dr's need to go back to the
80's & start thinking. I do good w/ water-robics for tone but
I still get this quick stab in scapula area if I stretch to
high. A hand bell keeps arm toned for task-stress away from my
shoulder pull. Let me know later how the Acupunc. goes. A bit
of humor: I did the pity-party thing too, but I meant what U.S.
State you were in. Humor got me thru the pain! Later.
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Avatar_n_tn
LOL...did I provide a little too much information?!  I live in Illinois.  The probe & wire procedure sounds gruesome! The acupuncture will discontinue if after 15 sessions there is no improvement according to the doctor...I'm very hopeful.  I will provide an update once I know the results.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Unemployed,

Have you had a postural examination that also included evaluating your posture during movement?  Abnormal posture during movement can sometimes be hard to detect and may contribute to pain in the rhomboid region.

Hope this helps,

Matt
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter is a PT and I also have been having trouble getting a rhomboid strain to heal. She says that thoracic outlet syndrome could be a contributing factor. Have any of you been tested for this or heard of it from any of your doctors?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Guys

I have the same problem.
In a nutshell , the problem is spine related.
A chiro is not good , you need to see one of them bone setter .
it really works folks!
Also ask somebody to use their elbo and to massage the area by pressing and stretching this muscle.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had the exact same problem (except on the left side) for the past 2 years -- incredibly tight rhomboid muscles that feel like rope with about 50 knots, terrible neck pain, constant headaches and have done the PT, the chriopractor, everything...without relief.  

Massage (with tennis ball, someone elses elbow or massage chair) offer some relief but it is often short lived.  While I cannot offer you much help in the way of relief, I may be able to offer you some help in terms of what might be causing it.  While getting and MRI for a completely different reason, it was discvered that I have a herniated disc in my C4-C5 vertebrae.  The dorsal scapular nerve which runs through the rhomboid muscle begins at that location.  My doctor told me that because of the disc herniation the rhomboid muscles on my left side are constantly tightening in an attempt to compensate for the damage.  Have you ever had a cervical spine MRI?
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Hi Steff:
I've had this same issue for 6 years now. I won't recount all the docs and treatments I've had. I've been getting cervical epidural steroid injections which are hit or miss for a c3/c4 herniation. About a year ago I started to have arm tingling so a Ctscan revealed a c-5/6 herniation. Had a series of injections in c5-c6 in late 2006 and most of 2007 it improved my rhomboid problem. I hav been better, not great, but able to work out with weights and enjoy life. Now just last week I woke up after playing golf...and was in immense pain....and it has continued....after reading your comments I now might be able to connect the dots and my c5-6 herniation may be aggravated and causing my underlying problem...teh c3/c4 was more visible but probably not causing the underlying problem....Have you found any web research that shows the dorsal scapular nerve begin at c4-c5? I will look myself as well...as most folks who are in this thread probably are aware, the hardest thing is to convince a doc to spend time discussing and believing your own opinion on the source of pain. I've had some docs tell me that this cannot be related to the spine and others who say it may be....arghh.....Thanks for your perspective.
Tom
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I am a 26 year old female pretty much in good health.  About 3 years ago I started experiencing pain in my chest.  I ignored it thinking that it would go away.  Well it never did and instead of getting better it has gotten worst.  The pain now is not only in my chest but also on my upper right shoulder blade, right side of neck, down my right arm to my finger tips, and also under my arm by where the bra strap sits.  At times it feel as if my right breast hurts as well.  I feel helpless because I have gone to several doctors and have gone from pill to pill.  I have noticed that icing it helps and also at times I'll go home and have my husband massage my upper back, which I guess would be called the rhomboid area.  That also helps for a little while.  I am tired of the pain.  At times I feel useless and it is affecting my life.  I have had an MRI done and apparently everything came out normal.  I don't know what to do anymore and I feel as if the doctor that I am seeing now won't hear me out.  She put me on cymbalta, which made me end up in the ER by ambulance.  Now she has me on some seizure med (can't remember the name) I stopped taking it because I recently visited the ER after falling and landing on my back (the right side of course) I was in extreme pain.  Well the ER doc asked me how I slept and she told me that it could have a lot to do with it.  She also said that she felt a lump on my right side (didn't know if it was caused by my fall or not) by my shoulder blade which is where it is very sensitive at times. So she diagnosed me with muscle spasms from the trapezius/rhomboid area and paraspiral muscles T 4-7 area < not sure what that meant.  I have also been diagnosed with costochondritis. This is the first thing that I was diagnosed with, but I have been having all these recent complications for about a year now or so.  If anyone has any advice please share.  I am desperate.  I just want to be normal again.

Hopeless
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I have just found this site and see so much of what I am suffering from.  Second really bad issue with rhomboid muscle spasm- my right side this time and numb on the top of my right bicept (nerve entrapment).  Went to Orthopedic who gave me a cortizone shot- helped about 22 hours, and now back to a really good PT who was able to work out the last one.  I am a triathlete, run, swim, bike, just finished a marathon.  50 year old female.  Also weight train.  All is to say, trying to keep fit and healthy and it results in this terrible pain that nothing will help make go away until the PT is able to get the muscle to relase with Miofacial release techniques and other things.  My question is this- I know I need to lay off my training- how bad is swimming for this problem once I get the muscle settled down and am pain free again?  I don't want to stop my triathlon life and I also can't live life with this constant pain- I am becoming a very unpleasent person due to lack of sleep and pain.
BA
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22 year old male.  I work out in the gym 4-5 days per week.  Obviously with my goal being weight gain I push myself generously.  I've been working out for about 2 years and have gained 50 pounds.   August 06 I injured my rhomboid pulling on a pallet jacket at work.  Since it was only a slight pinch with no further pain I didn't let it slow me down in the gym.  The following day I suffered a mild spasm during a chest workout.  2 days later I went to a chiropractor who diagnosed it as a "dislocated rib."  She tried to put it back in and caused a major spasm.  I couldn't turn my head, lift my arm, or get out of bed.  After an MRI, x-rays, and 3 visits to an Orth Surgeon I was diagnosed with a rhomboid muscle strain/ minor tear.  He said, "Let pain be your guide...." I took 8 weeks off from the gym.  I haven't had a major spasm since then, but every time I get the slightest bit stressed out it aches like a toothache.  I've tried those stretches, bengay, heating pads, doc gave me lidoderm patches, and alleve.  I don't feel that my working out is aggravating it further....Is there anything that can be done to fix this problem permanently?
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Avatar_n_tn
I strongly suggest anyone with rhomboid area pain, cervical radiopathy / radiculitis, "trigger point" problems, shoulder RSI, chronic rotator cuff tendinitis / tendonopathy, and other similarly diagnosed symptoms to read Jolie Bookspan's online material on stretching and posture correction. Some of it is a bit unconventional, some a bit hokey, but all of it is based in sound science, unlike the advice of most chiropractors and PTs. While many of these pains have different specific medical causes (pinched nerves, bulging discs, actual tendinitis, etc), her approach treats the postural causes of all of them.  Within 4 days of practicing her simple stretches (and avoiding the head forward, arms-across-chest stretches she advises against, which feel great, but are counterproductive, since the rhomboids are already over-stretched) I felt actual natural relief - no more medication, hot / ice packs, menthol pads, etc. It takes constant attention (especially once it does start working, and you have less pain to remind you), but the longer you keep at it, the longer you can sustain the relief. Here's the link:
http://www.drbookspan.com/
Good luck!
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Sounds like you have a trigger point (or several).  Please check out a book by Clair Davies: http://www.triggerpointbook.com/.  My husband discovered him while he was studying to become a massage thrapist.  We both had been suffering from chronic pain for many years.  This book showed us how our pain was caused by tigger points.  For example, my husband worked on several trigger points I had in my traps, and stopped my regular migrains (haven't had one in months).  Also, I had several in my shins and couldn't do leg extentions without my eyes watering because I was in so much pain (not from the exercise, but from the leg extention machine pad against my shins).  After working on my trigger points in my shins I can do leg extentions pain free.
Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so happy to have found this website.  I have felt alone in chronic  pain flare ups that have occurred almost exactly as has been stated in this forum.  I had a fall and herniated discs at C4,5,6 that impinged spinal cord and nerve so I underwent surgery to remove disc and fusion  with bone.  The nuerosurgeon was so intent on releasing the pressure on my spinal cord to avoid paralysis, he didnt even go into the residual pain that would occur.  I am glad that the fusion worked but I have not been pain free in 5 years now.  I used to be very active and now if I so much as walk on treadmill for 30 minutes I end up with a horrific painful inflammation in my upperback that leaves me crying and laying on ice on the bed.  I have regular epidural injections that provide relief for the stiffness and some pain, take vicodin and flexaril, and motrin for pain, spasm relief, and inflammation but dont want to use more than absolutely necessary so I dont tear up my stomach.    I try swimming and while it doesnt have the jolt impact of walking, the very movement of those back muscles can trigger an episode.  I keep telling myself not to feel sorry for myself because there are so many people worse off, but I feel when you live with chronic pain you are in your own torture chamber.  
I have tried pretty much everything others have mentioned here and really for the most part pain management is using a variety of treatment methods to help us cope and be functional... Some days it is okay, some days not.  
good luck to anyone else coping with this type of pain.  
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I hurt my rhomboid popping a 50-pound bag up on my shoulder.  I have been in therapy almost 7 months.  Not much better.  Found that running irritated the rhomboid so I tried running with a sling to minimize the motion.  Is there any brace that would help since I spend hours at a computer?  what about a certain chair?  Interested in answers since it is a continual pain.  Biofreeze hides the pain.  Afraid my non-movement of that shoulder or guarding it will lead to other problems in the shoulder.  Any other suggestions?

Will
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had this same issue for about three years now.  At first I thought it was my trapezius muscle but I looked at a diagram yesterday and am thinking now it is my rhomboid muscle as well.  I went through years of treatment for this issue.  Until a few months ago, I was a member of Kaiser and was admitted to the Chronic Pain Management department for 2 years.

I have gone to countless appointments, purchased a new PosturePedic bed, have tried Vicoden and muscle relaxers, accupuncture, accupressure, physical therapy, electro-shock therapy, chiropractor, trigger point injections, cortazone/steroid injections, etc etc etc.  Finally they gave me was a drug called Nortryptelene, which is a very strong antidepressant that also is used for patients with nerve damage.  It made me depressed and suicidal, which is very unlike me.

Needless to say, after that, I mostly stopped seeing doctors, unless it was emergency treatment.  I have had my neck lock up so badly that I had to get an injection with a huge needle in my rear, which almost immediately provided relief.  I don't recall what it was but they told me that it is something they cannot give other than in an emergency.  Kaiser refused to do an MRI of my back.  They would only do an MRI of my neck because they claimed the numbness in my right arm HAD to be from my neck.  This doesn't make sense because the center of my pain is in the middle of my back, to the right of my spine, just underneath my shoulderblade.  They found bulging disks in my neck but based on what you guys are saying here, I'm concerned I may have herniated a disk much lower than they were willing to look at.  I have a new provider which is PPO so I will have to make an appointment.

I am only 29 years old and the problem started when I was 26.  It started as a repetitive motion injury, as I do accounting for a living and do lots of 10 key.  I have gained a lot of weight since the injury as well from the steroid treatments, fatigue from pain, and although I don't really feel depressed about it, I feel like it is taking over my life.  I try not to let it get to me but it does affect my mood and I have retreated from my social life because of it.  I am so sorry to hear you guys are suffering as well, but at the same time relieved to hear of other people with the same problem so I don't feel quite so alone.  No one else I have spoken to has even given any suggestions.  I plan on printing this out and confronting my new doctor if they also refuse to do an MRI like I have always felt was needed.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had problems with my rhomboids for years.  It gets worse when I spend alot of time on the computer (which I cannot avoid).  Nothing seems to work.  I have spent a small fortune on chiropractors and weekly massage.

Has anyone considered botox?  If so, please let me know.  I am ready to try anything before an epidural.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am amazed that so many others suffer from rhomboid muscle pain/spasm.  I thought I was the only one!  I have always noticed that my upper back became tired when I was involved in prolonged activity involving holding my arms in front of me, for example, washing the dishes or holding an infant in my arms.  Later I injured my upper back when leaning over a bed to hold a patient's hand during a painful procedure.  That got better, but here it is ten years later and the upper back spasms are killing me!  I blamed the spasms on my cholesterol medication, but stopping that didn't help.  I finally went to the doctor and he referred me to a PT, who pointed out that my upper back muscles were severely overstretched ( he said my shoulder blades should be about three finger widths apart and they are twice that).  He also pointed out that I had hump in my upper back from hunching my shoulders forward.  This poor posture I have had all my life, but the past five years my work has been at a computer and that must have been the final straw for my poor rhomboids (and probably my trapezius as well.)  Even when the muscle is not in spasm, the attachment sites on the scapula and spine are exquisitely tender to touch, no doubt from the years of constant strain on them.

I realized that I can't overcome years of poor posture in a jiffy.  However, I am religiously following my exercises to expand my contracted chest muscles and to strengthen my neck and have already reduced the number of spasms I experience.  Rubbing my upper back on the back of my chair or even the wall helps relieve an acute spasm.  Ibuprofen makes me feel better although I know it does nothing to relax muscles.  (Unless lessening the perception of pain helps to relax them.)  Tylenol is worthless for this discomfort.  Likewise ice packs.

An earlier poster mentioned the website http://www.drbookspan.com and so far it seems to be a very commonsense resource.  

Good luck to everyone!  And avoid surgery and injections if you can--scar tissue will leave you with more problems than you started with.
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Hi All
I am joining this site from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.  I have had "mysterious" symptoms for five years since doing a lot of really physical landscaping (which I used to love!) It started with chest pains which lead to ECGs and heart tests which came out normal.  Major migraines, deep burning pain to the left side of my thoracic area in the back and referring in to my chest on the left side, up my neck and into the head.  I have spent a lot of money and seen some really diverse people trying to get on top of this pain.  It has taken over my life.  I used to be very active, happy and sociable.  Due to this constant chronic pain and the frustration of not being able to get an answer I have become withdrawn, always tired and cranky.  My life is great apart from this bloody thing that won't go away even though I have tried everything imaginable.  Recently I had an MRI which turned up bulging discs at T4 T5 and T6 which doesn't seem to be a great deal but maybe there is some nerve damage there?  I have been offered injections for pain relief but I am really dubious about going ahead with them.  What a surprise when I land on this site and suddenly there you all are recounting a lot of my symptoms! My back is always stiff and I can't rotate very far on one side even though I have had countless massages, seen piles of chiropractors, osteos, accupuncturists etc. I have very strong muscles in my back due to all the digging etc that I used to do.  Thay are always very tight and never give in.  You have given me some new hope and another direction to search in - After five years I was contemplating giving in to those doctors that want to give me antidepressants because they have no answers. Some days I go to bed thinking it wouldn't be so bad if I didnt wake up, at least I wouldn't have the pain anymore.  I would never do that to my family but it's so frustrating.  I just want my life back - I have so much I want to do but am stuck in this painful body!  So anyway sorry it's longwinded but it feels good to vent to others that actually do understand cos sometimes as you all know, it feels like you're very alone.  I will investigate the Rhomboid/Trapezius muscle theory - it sounds promising to me.  Thank you so much.  Good luck to you all with finding some relief.  Sherri - New Zealand
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Another painful day - week - month with my LEFTshoulder blade and arm.  Had a massage last week and it did nothing. I am right handed so my computer time is more stressful for my right arm (I think)
So today I have been on the computer looking for answers.  You all sound like me with the medications, PT,
doctors etc.and not much relief to speak of.  
I can not reach my scapula area to put icy hot on it, but have laid on the ice pack and it offers some
help as does the hot tub...but both are short lived relief.
I swim 3x a week, 45 minutes of water "aerobics" then as many laps as I can handle.  I am a 60 year old female who until 4 years ago when working in the garden and shredded my RIGHT rotator cuff, have been in
good physical shape.  Now it seems I am falling apart.  My should hurts so bad that I just want to sit and do nothing.
I love the swimming, but the pain returns within an hour of getting out of the pool.
My question is this...........am I making matters worse by swimming?  I only do the breast stroke one way and swim on my back the return way.  Maximum I can do is 4 laps.  We also use a small foam board and do some push down exercises and some behind our back exercises pushing down the board under water.  Are these making my rhomboid damage any worse?  
My husband was alive when I had the rotator cuff surgery so I had a "caregiver" for the few days of recovery.
He has since passed away and I wonder if I need surgery to repair the rhomboid, is it very involved?  Will I be able to take care of myself alone for a few days?  
Thanks for anyone who can answer my questions.  Doctors being so busy, I like to have my research done before
I go in and talk surgery (if that is what they recommend) or at least know my options.
Thanks everyone
Lynda
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HI there,
I was doing some online research and came across this group. Sorry to hear about all the pain you've had! I've had pain here and there that I wasn't able to find relief for but after trying a million things a few things have worked for me. I used neuromuscular massage- much different from traditional massage and better then PT, in my opinion, and pilates!

My MD prescribed pilates for a year. I saw my instructor 2x a week- with in a few visits I was amazed! I had been working out before that BUT I wasn't working the muscles that needed stregthening and over working ones that were already to tight!

Based on what you've describe, I wonder if you pec major and minor (chest muscle that attaches to your sternum and the upper inside of your arm) are the real culprits? The way I understand muscle to work is, the muscle on the front of the body usually do one type of movement and the ones on the back do the opposite. EX. when you forward bent at the waist the abs are flexing and the muscle on your back are being stretched. SO if you're pecs are tight (over worked, and constantly "flexed") that will bring you sh. slightly forward and the partner muscle on the back side is being overstretched- rhomboids, erectors, mid-traps. You doing your breaststroke may be tightening that pec more then it needs? I'd try standing in a door way with hands on the frame and arms are in a L step forward gently- do you feel tight, does it feel like a good stretch? Good Luck!
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Well, in January of 2000 I was rear-ended, and I've had neck pain ever since in my left shoulder area. I was diagnosed with a bulging disk on my left side in the c4 of my neck, and am pretty much in constant pain. I've done the trigger point injections, the epidurals, and the next step is radio frequency, though without much relief from the previous treatments, I'm not sure I want to do that. Has anyone had that, and if so, what does it entail, and what side-effects, if any, have you had, and what level of relief have you experienced?

I've done the MRI's, PT, pain management (through Kaiser of Ohio of all things lol), and chiropractic care, all to no avail. I know sitting too long at the computer doesn't help, and I've recently begun to feel pain going down my left arm.

Let me know if you have had any experience with the radio frequency. I'd love to hear from you all.

Maria T
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All this sounds like me. I'm really depressed now since no one claims to have gotten any relief. Or maybe they do and just never come back to share with those of us that are still searching!! They are probably too busy, swimming, biking, gardening and living life to the fullest again to come back and share the cure!! I'm going to make an appointment with a neuroligist tomorrow. If I get relief I'll be back!!! but I'm not holding my breath, 1st it will take over a month to get an appointment, then they put me off for tests, another month. Well ya'll know the game.
Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one. Melissa
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I have all of the same symptoms.  I found that I have a unique( possibly) issue.  If I put my hands out by my side, I find that I can not raise them above my head.  I get to about 60 degrees and have so much straining and pain, it is too much to continue.  Any one else have this?
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Avatar_m_tn
Your earlier replies failed to mention neuromuscular or trigger point massage therapy techniques, which might have nipped your problem in the bud. I am age 74 and have been successfully treated with these massage techniques more than a dozen times, for spasms in the rhomboids (most frequent), trapezius, paraspinal  muscles, and elbow. I'd suggest: FORGET the analgesics, find a LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPIST specializing in neuromuscular therapy, also called myofascial release, myotherapy, or trigger point. When the spasms are gone, usually WELL within two months, gradually add strength and flexibility exercise for ALL shoulder girdle muscles. The therapist will help you with this. Good luck!
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I am a 25 yr old female with a desk job. The pain has arrisen since I have been working here. I thought that was the source, however all the mention of tennis forces me to think maybe i should give up my passion. Although tennis does not seem to be the direct cause, it hurts more to work. The pain is random, sometimes i wake up in pain. It also seems to act up from driving and stress. Anyhow, I too try to relieve this rhomboid pain ( which has finally just been pinpointed after a month + of treatment) w/ the tennis ball behind my back. My PT has me doing excercised to strengthen that muscle where he feels I am weak, and working on posture excercises as well. Massage & chiropractic care provide temporary relief as well. However something no one has yet mentioned that I feel to be very helpful in relieving pain by exhausting the muscle so that it cannot spams is the use of  a tens unit. You can get a perscription to take one home. UHC paid 100% of the $995. Its like a deep electrical massage. However you cannot use one if you have an heart problems. I also intend to try acupuncture and maybe even cortizone shots.
Good luck to everyone. Now that I realize everyone does not have back pain everyday of their lives, i strive to reach that quality of life as well. I refuse to give up tennis, only pain.
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Okay, I normally don't weigh in on forums but I feel so deeply for everyone hurting out there. Rhomboids and traps - how miserable can they make your life, right? And I couldn't understand that nobody had discovered PILATES, until I came across a comment by brownie007 - July 2008. You go girl!

As a certified Pilates instructor I practice what I preach - I have most of the problems mentioned, as well as thinning disks etc. And I've experienced, for myself and with clients, incredible success through the practice of Pilates. Find yourself a good, certified instructor (ask all the right questions before picking an instructor) and you are in for a wonderful surprise and improvement.

Pilates_4_Life
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My husband has had the same described pain in the rhomboid/trapezious muscle (along spine, up through back of neck) for 3 years - he's ex military (seal-trained) and in EXCELLENT condition but is almost suicidal with this pain!  He is not the man I married - yes, he works but pops pills to keep the pain in check (to no avail!)  Has he tried doctors - you name it, we've tried it, nothing is LONG LASTING and nothing even comes close to curing it.  I'm at my wits end, most weekends he wants to lay on the floor (on top of my rolling pin which he believes is working this muscle to alleviate problem) my family is falling apart. we are in northern florida if anyone knows any study/doctor that we havent' yet tried!  Blessings to you all who are suffering
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Hi

When I was reading the comments on here I felt understood. I thought that tthis problem was only something that I felt. But now I know that it's pretty common. Anyways when I first started feeling this tightness I did physical threapy, and took a lot of ibuprofen. When that didn't work, I made up a lot stretches and massages. (I made my sister stand on my back/ I also use to lie down on a couch and press the back of my head on the arm rest). Needless to say that only provided temporary relief as well. It wasn't until about three years from then that I found this site which perfectly described the muscle imbalance that I had.

Go to:

http://www.healthypages.co.uk/articles/article.php?article=18

That article basically says that our chest muscles overstretch our rhomboid because the pectoral are far stronger than our rhomboids. This muscle imbalance means that our rhomboids aren't strong enough to pull our scapula back in line with our spine. Hence our shoulders tend to lean forward when we sit, stand, or walk.

Doing back exercises that stregthen the rhomboid and other back muscles is really the only permanent solution to this problem. The best exercise that works for me is with my arms at their sides I curl my left arm (that's my tight side) and I take my left elbow and bring it as far back over my shoulder as possible. It works that part of my back perfectly and my spasms aren't nearly as intense as the use to be.
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Ditto's on the misery caused or centered in the Rhomboid. I too have been athletic all my life and sustained a repetitive motion injury when I was 22 working as a pipe fitter turning pipe above my head. Worst mistake of my life. Recently, I started paying a chiropractor for visits. The beautiful Dr. Webber  showed me a microscopic fracture in the outer ridge of my neck cervix which she explained using the term "clay shoveler s'' injury. That is, a repetitive motion sustained when a muscle we will call the trap or rhomboid is over developed and pulls on the cervical bones of the neck with great force. I no longer work my traps and minimize upper shoulder and neck exercises for fear of exacerbating a burning pain that has been with me for the last 18 years.
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I feel your pain, and just wish that there was something that could alleviate the pain that everyone on this support site is experiencing.  I have had this for a little over two years after being rear-ended in an auto accident. It has really taken my spirit.  I use to be very active, but the pain is so bad, I don't feel like doing anything.  The pain is so severe, that I get nauseated.  I am desperate to find a treatment that will help me start living again.
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My rhomboid pain has been horrible since a slip and fall six years ago, after first injuring it with my tennis serve and a rear end car wreck.  The pain would make the muscle sqeeze the nerve tighter, the nerve being pinched caused more pain, in a never ending, spiraling circle.  I felt like I was sleeping on a golf ball, and had to sleep on my size, till it gave out.  then the other side went out, I had nowhere to go and couldn't sleep.  I finally went to a precription doctor and radiologist: What has helped:
Zanaflex and Diazepam for the spasms;
the Duragesic patch for pain, and MSIR morphine for break-through pain.
Radio Frequency Neurotomies in the cervical and the thoracic at T1-T2 to get the nerves under the scapula.  Also, botox injection into the spasm.  I can live ok now.
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I have been suffering for the last 10 years, where I had chronic pain in my upper back (left side) which aggravated while typing on the computer since most of the keys need to be punched with left hand.  Simultaneously I also suffered pain in my chest muscles on the left side.
This was becoz of working for long hours on the computer, no exercise and poor posture.

I have been perfoming SURYANAMASKARS (Sun Salutations) regularly and the pain in my chest muscles has gone completely !!!  I have 50% relief in my rhomboid muscle pain.

I now roll on a tennis ball every day and sometimes also sleep on a pack filled with rice grains which give a good massage to my rhomboids.

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Hi all, the pain most of you describe is basically what I had been experiencing for about 5 months .  Its combined with a terrible burning pain in the arm that I dread feeling, along with numbness and tingling in the rhomboid muscle.  It would be so bad at times, that I literally did not know what to do with myself. I have been very althetic all my life, but in the last year have not gotten much excerise and have been working  longer hours doing repetitive tasks (I'm a dental surgeon by profession). I've been doing research online for months, following most of the suggestions, seen a neurologist and massage therapist, and truly didnt get much relief.

About three weeks ago I made a remarkable discovery that has dramatically changed everything.  I no longer have to take pain killers and have more pain free days (if I do have pain, its pretty tolerable).  Along with doing stretches to relax the pecs nightly (similar stretch with tennis ball on previous post) , I have eliminated the use of pillows.  I thought that using a pillow would help give me the proper neck support, but it only made things worse.  I also had a bad habit of sleeping with a ponytail for years..it was a bad combination.  I now sleep with my hair out and no pillow, face down.  

Since the night I made those simple changes (by chance really), I am almost completely pain free with just a few days of discomfort when the humidity rises (i live in the tropics).  It doesnt hurt to try something so simple.  It worked wonders for me.  Oh and don't forget, stretch, stretch, stretch (e.g. yoga, pilates) !!!  Your massage therapist may also give you specific stretching excercises.  
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I was surprised to see how many other people suffer from the same thing!  I have been having issues with my right side rhomboids for 18 years!   The onset of my pain occurs suddenly, without warning most of the time:  This past Saturday I was just waking up, turned over in bed, then felt that excrutiating PAIN radiate down my spine (at the base of my neck) and throught my rhomboid region.  The pain is so intense I am unable to get myself out of bed, I can not turn my head side-to-side or look up or down, can't raise my right arm.  Pretty much every motion hurts!  Oh, and let's not forget that sitting hurts more, and lying down is unbearable!!!!!!!    This is probably the 4th time I've experienced this over the years.  I was only 22 years old the first time it occurred!  Besides the severe 'blow-outs', I constantly have pain in my rhomboids.......always feel a pulling sensation and soreness, limiting my range of motion in my neck and right arm. And there have been too many 'small blow-outs' to mention (that usually last 2-3 days)!!  Like everyone else, I have always been very active........was a gymnast my entire pre-adult life, then an avid Jazzerciser all throughout adulthood.  Now, I am very reluctant to overdo my exercising.  Whenever I feel that 'twinge' in my rhomboids, I know I had better watch out!!!!
I saw an Otho doc. on Tuesday.  Was told I have some arthritis in two of my cerivcal discs.  This was a huge surprise!  I am taking a regimine of Prednisone, have been getting frequent massages, and using ice packs.  I am much better, but not 100% by far (still have that nagging pulling sensation).
This is the first x-ray I've had since the initial onset at age 22.  I was told MANY moons ago that I have scoliosis in my thoracic region, so I always assumed my problem was due to that.  Well, I saw with my own eyes, that my degree of scoliosis is SO insignificant that calling it scoliosis is subjective!!  Anyway, after reading some of these posts, I am now wondering if might have a herniated disc!!  Guess I'll have to endure the 3 weeks of useless PT so I can get an MRI!  Like many of you, I have tried every treatment out there and nothing works!  My Ortho doc asked me what I had done in the past (since PT and meds don't work), and I told him I just live with it.  The acute attack usually subsides on its on, but it takes a while.  However, it never TOTALLY goes away.  
I was wondering if any of you have experienced the same thing????
And if any of you have any more advice for me it is greatly appreciated!

Happy New Year to All,    Beth
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I am going "crazy" with this constant dull pain in my left Rhomboid muscle and left  outer forearm. Luckily, I am right handed. I use the elliptical machine every other day for 1/2 hour, which I just started up again for the last month. Is that causing the pain? I HATE to take medication. Should I just do the rhomdoid stretches that I have googled? Is there anything I should do with this forearm? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.  
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I am going "crazy" with this constant dull pain in my left Rhomboid muscle and left  outer forearm. Luckily, I am right handed. I use the elliptical machine every other day for 1/2 hour, which I just started up again for the last month. Is that causing the pain? I HATE to take medication. Should I just do the rhomdoid stretches that I have googled? Is there anything I should do with this forearm? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.  
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I am a 40 yr old woman.  
Wow!! I can't believe how many people are suffering with me. I have most of the same problems as alot of you.  I have also found out some other things.
I pitched fastpitch softball when I was 17. (I've been dealing with this pain for 23 years.  Thanks Coach!!) I was active duty AF, so my medical care has been mixed. Alot of MRIs, which found nothing, alot of PT...producing no help, eventually I just decided to live with it until I was doing push ups and actually felt my muscle rip.  The answer to this was to take 6 weeks off and put me on muscle relaxers. After the 6 weeks, I was no better and the dr finally decided to address all of the back issues I was having. Turns out that I have degenerating discs in my neck, spinal stenosis in my neck and lower back, carpal tunnel, decorvain tenosyvitis (I have no idea how to spell any of that.) in my wrists and it is believed that those things are because of the problems I have in my neck.  That was all discovered 3 years ago.  
The big question is what has been done since....unfortunately nothing. I retired and moved and frankly I don't really want to start this whole process over again. I have my medical records, but everybody wants to do their own checks. Alot of the things they did were quite painful.  The only thing that I have had done that actually worked was acupuncture. It was with a real MD and he even would hook little electrodes to some of the needles and that helped SO MUCH!!  I am looking for someone to do it.  I know it's going to be expensive, but I am so sick of being borderline sick because of the chronic pain.  My family has been helpful by massaging my back, but I am getting so tired of asking them because I need them to rub so hard it hurts them too.  
I will keep posting once I go back to the Dr.  I am hoping that VA will maybe have some ideas short of surgery.

Good luck!!!
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For what its worth, i would imagine that all of you at this point would try ANYTHING to get some sort of relief from your pain.  I have been in the same boat as all of you as well in regards to Rhomboid pain and additionally lower back pain.  Persistent and sometimes excruciating.  I've had to stop everything that i love doing, going to the gym, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, snowboarding, and the list goes on.  I'm a 26 year old male, who is in the peak of my physcial fitness.  I've been eating a straight organic diet, and have lost like 20 lbs.  Basically.. i'm the healthiest i have ever been, and yet still experiencing this pain.  I'm still looking for the answer as well, but in a sense i believe that i may have found it already.  I haven't gone to the degree as some of you as far as tests go, but I have been riddled with debilitating pain that seemingly strikes out of nowhere.  There's always the well maybe i lifted something wrong, or slept on it wrong, etc, etc.  But none of that really fits the bill, and i'm always left wondering why i'm in so much damn pain all the time.  So I decided to, dare i say it, think 'outside of the box'.  I started doing research on the internet, one thing led to another and all of sudden i was reading customer reviews from amazon.com on a book called Mind Over Back Pain, written by a Dr. John Sarno.  I must say I was intrigued, and of course, am willing to try anything.  So i went out and bought this book.  If anything, this book has made me aware of something that i never even thought possible, and has since started me on a mission to control my back pain.  I'm sure by the title of the book you can draw some conclusion as to what its premise is.  But i'll tell you, its worth the $7 i paid for it, because i feel like it opened up a new conduit of thought in my brain.  The book touches base with your Mind, and how it can in some cases, be the entire root cause of your pain.  The only reason i'm telling you all this, is because it seems like most or all of you are at your wits end in dealing with this pain, and you feel like you have no one or thing to turn to.  I know this feeling.  But how would you feel, if this whole time, all you had to do was turn to yourself?  
Seth
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Rhomboid pain is tough to deal with ...Chronic pain ***** and can cause a person to lose hope and become depressed. I know first hand. But don't fall into that black hole!  Keep moving! Like many of you I have an active life, workout, and have tried almost every trick in the book, Doctors, PT, Massage, Ice, DRUGS...you name it..I've tried it. I don't believe there is a magic pill or long term "fix" for the problem.  BUT the good news is that you can get some relief.  Avoid overstretching and overworking the area if possible. Proper posture and PILATES is helpful.  My pilates instructor showed me a few "good moves" that anyone can do at home which will get you through the moments of despair... 1. Get a foam roller...it should be long enough to lay your head on and your reach to the base of your tailbone. Start in a sitting position at one end and (using your hands on the floor)lay down on it and use only your legs and core muscles to balance.  Allow your arms to just fall to your sides. This will offer you a stretch in the opposite direction of the "tightened" shoulder blades and rhomboid.  You should feel your shoulder blades almost MELT into the sides of the foam roller.
The only other way to get to this area is by massage...and then you are
bruised from the effort of the therapist to loosen those muscles.
2. Get two tennis (or even better..slightly larger therapy balls...the kind used in Thai Chi) and place them on either side of your spine beginning where the pain is.  Let the rest of your body relax with only the balls raising the area of discomfort (this is a great stretch too) and again, in the opposite direction of most other exercise type stretches.  Feel free to move the balls up or down your spine to loosen the surrounding muscles as well..you may feel the pain or tightness "move"...stay with it...work each area...and take your time.  It's almost like a self-massage in that very hard to reach area.  I have found that my painful rhomboids make me want to stretch forward...and I have found that stretching forward only makes it worse.....TRY STRETCHING BACKWARDS...with the foam roller or the balls....It's temporary relief...but it does help.  You can also use either method as a daily regiment to keep that area limber...and  loosen what feels like a "knot in a rope" in your back.
Try it....and good luck.
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I have had nearly constant pain, mostly on the right side next to the lower edge of the scapula, for the past 7 months, probably due to a gym injury.  Sitting in front of the computer would be excruciating after just 10 minutes.  After seeing two orthopedists who thought it was busitis, five months of physical therapy, negative nerve studies and MRIs, and a rheumatologist, none of which helped, I went to my family doctor back home who diagnosed chonic rhomboid spasm.  He put me on a week of oral prednisone to clear out any inflammation and a low dose of Amitriptylene (10mg at night), which I have to continue taking for now.  This drug is used as an antidepressant at much higher dosages, and I am extremely scared of antidepressants, but at this low dose it is used to counteract the neurological mechanisms causing the spasm, and has had absolutely no side effects as far as I can tell, neither mental nor physical.  

It has only been two weeks, but the pain and spasm has significantly diminished already (the effects tend to accumulate over time), and I can say that I am very happy and optimistic.  I would estimate the problem to be about 70% better at this point, and I am cautiously optimistic that it might continue to improve.
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Over a year and a half ago, I took a bad fall in soccer and immediately had pain in my rhomboid breathing and I couldn't bend over. I play fastpitch softball now, and that seriously irritates it. I'm only 16 and I don't want this to last forever. I'm our varsity pitcher, should I give it up for the sake of of health?
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I have had the same rhomboid problem for 3.5 years.  Now my entire upper back and neck are in chronic spasm, and often my sides.  And I have been following this forum.

But after trying everything that everyone else here has tried, I FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE, and I hope you all take my advice.

We've all had tests done, and they all come back fine.  We may have a herniated disc, but that can't explain all the pain, and all the spasms. Even my doctors said that!  We've gone to physical therapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, etc.  And nothing helps.

Last week I went to an osteopath doctor and she told me about a doctor (John E. Sarno) who has written several books on back pain and talks about something called TENSION MYOSITIS SYNDROME (TMS).  Something that affects a certain type of personality--people like us--active, high achieving people.  Basically what this entails is that all the repressed anger, anxiety, and other emotions that we avoid thinking about, get pushed so far back into our mind that our brain turns it into physical pain because they are not being dealt with.  

I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but it makes sense to me  now, since I have tried everything and there is no medical explanation for the problem.  After that visit to the doctor, I started reading HEALING BACK PAIN, THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION, by Sarno.  And the book describes the condition (better than I did above), who it affects, how it works and how to fix it (by getting to the root of the repressed emotions).  He gives several examples of patients of his who he has helped recover completely.  He says he has helped thousands of people.  He is located in New York City.  The other book by Sarno I was told to read is called THE MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION.  

I haven't finished the book yet, but some things I want to point out are that Sarno says not only muscle, but nerves and tendons and ligaments can be affected by TMS.  He says the muscles "that are susceptible to TMS are those in the back of the neck, the entire back, and the buttocks, known collectively as postural muscles."  (that's why we tend to think this is a postural problem).  He also mentions tennis elbow and rotator cuff disorder which some of you have mentioned, that tennis elbow often left in his patients and that a rotator cuff diagnosis may be TMS.

People that have posted here who do get relief from something, probably don't have TMS, but for the rest of is who have tried everything (and spent so much money!), this may be the answer.  Our doctors didn't tell us that our problem could be all stress/tension/emotion related, because they are trained to believe that a physical problem has a physical explanation, not a psychological one.  I hope you take this seriously and get those books or look up doctor Sarno.  I have faith in this.  The worse our pain gets (to further distract us from what we are emotionally avoiding), the more disabled we become, and the more focused on the pain we become, until is takes over.  All this is talked about and explained in the book, and it makes so much sense, and like I said, it explains everything better than I do. I hope at least someone gets those books and will read them and post back.
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I am suprised to see all the comments around this Rhomboid paid. I have suffered for 20+ years and I am going to the Doctor again tomorrow. I have been thru PT, Corizone Injections, stretches. I used to suffer on the right side, but now I have this pain in the left and right. I haven't gotten to read all the comments, but I will since I am expecting a not so good response from the Doctor tomorrow.
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Is it a possibility that you play golf and carry or have carried your golf bag?  I am not an expert, but, I have experienced some intense pain in my rhomboid areas from carrying a double-strap golf bag.  This was due to compression.  It took a while before anyone could figure out what it was.  However, if you have carried your bag on one shoulder or if your bag was not balanced amongst two shoulders, this could be the source of your problem.
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Hi to all:

I am 30 years old. I have Rhomboid pain for last 4 years. It just started. I have done all possible treatments, x-rays, posture, therapies, massage and list is long...My wife is a Physiotherapist. Her treatments are very effective but temporary. She treats me almost every alternate day. She still can not cure it completely. It's now a part of our married life that she needs to treat me for this pain. Ibuprofen works great but I dont want to take it everyday. Only time I take it when I have a fight with my wife and she goes to sleep without giving treatment but it happens only once in 3-4 months. I have noticed that it's very closely related to stress. When I am on phone and if I get a bad news or driving in snow and all of the sudden car sleeps, I get the heavy pain just within 4-5 seconds. Usually my life is stress free but I am almost sure that I will have to live with this pain forever.
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Hello everyone...  I have been suffering with this sometimes dull and sometimes unbearable pain for almost five years, it is horrible.  I remember the exact moment it happened one morning during strength training and it consumes my thoughts everyday. It's always the same, how much it hurts or if it doesn't hurt, I'm always thinking what is going to happen to make it start hurting again. I workout 5 days a week and I LOVE IT but I never know how much is too much and what exact movement might irritate my shoulder again.  I have found an excellent massage therapist that really listened to me and finally found my trigger spot.  He gave me relief for 1 glorious month, I finally have some hope that if I continue to see him this may work eventually. I'm only 29 years old and I REALLY don't want this forever!!  I really felt like I was alone, thank you everyone for sharing their stories, I hope that we all find the relief that we are searching for!!!!
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I too suffer from rhomboid pain and have lived with it for 30+ years.  When the pain gets bad it seems to trigger migraines and drinking makes it worse, which led me to stop drinking alcohol more than a year ago.

Here are 3 stretches which help tremendously - too bad I can't find any to do while driving the car when my rhomboid really acts up.  I've tried the arm across the front of the body, touching the opposite shoulder and it feels good BUT I believe this is causing more long term problems and is not solving anything.  So here are the 3 stretches- give it a try and see if it works for you.

3 Easy Upper Back Stretches
Under your health-care provider's guidance, these simple stretches and exercises may help relieve upper stiffness and pain. Start small (3 sets of 5) and gradually increase as your symptoms and body allow. Take it easy!

Arm Slides
Stand against a wall and position your arms close against the wall, palms facing the wall.
Keep your arms against the wall while slowly sliding them up above your head, if possible; if not, as high as is comfortably possible.
Gently reverse and move your arms down; relax and repeat

Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Sit or stand with your arms by your sides
Squeeze and hold your shoulder blades together for 5 seconds
Release the squeeze, relax and repeat

Upper Back Stretch
Sit in a chair
Cross both arms behind your head and bend gently forward
Slowly arch backward; release and repeat
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Just stumbled across this forum and can't beleive what I've read. This is exactly what I've been suffering from for the past 8yrs and I'm only 30.

Mine started whilst working as a CAD designer. I am now a carpenter and only use a computer a little in the evenings. The pain from working in the office just became uttertly unbearable.

I have tried absolutly every treatment you can imagine but to no avail. Surgery is the only thing I haven't had but I don't like the idea.

The best advice I can give people is, if you work at a computer and feel it is causing or perpetuating the pain then STOP! Change your career now! No therapist or doctor is ever going to tell you to make such a drastic life style change, but I am. Do it or continue to suffer for years to come.
Try deep tissue massage also, its the only thing that has given me relief.

From my own experience I think the world will look back in twenty years time at the muscular skeletal problems caused by pc mice and keyboards in astonishment.

Good luck to everyone and please post back any success stories!!
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Again, I have all the issues everyone has listed above, have taken all the tests, downed the muscle relaxing comotos pills. One thing that continues to help alleviate some of the spasms is Botox injections into my trigger points. I have a Doctor do this every 10 weeks. I have an appointment with the Pain Management Center at Stanford Hospital next week. I will report back any new treatments. I am anxious to read the books by Savino and I am going to attempt Pilates.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Lets not get down, but continue to look for treatments.
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I dealt with on-going pain in my left back shoulder blade for more than 7 years.  Much, if not all of it, do to general poor posture while standing and extremely poor posture in front of the computer.

Get Jolie Bookspan's Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier book.  A large part includes correcting rounded shoulders that basically puts the weight of your head onto your upper back, specifically your rhomboids, causing pain.

I've been doing just a couple of stretches for 2 weeks and have seen a  noticible difference.  I played a full round of golf for the first time in years with no upper back pain.  Here are some things that have helped.

1.  Stretch out your chest muscles to keep them from pulling your shoulders forward.  Two stretches.  Put both arms at the top of a door jam and lean forward slowly, keeping your head, neck, and shoulders straight.  Do it a few times every day.  The Bookspan book has a second stretch, which is also available on-line for free.

2.  Exercise your neck.  Four exercises.  Use a towel to provide SOME resistance for back to forward and forward to back.  Use your hands to provide SOME resistance left to right and right to left.  TAKE IT EASY.  I learned that the hard way.

3.  Watch your posture ALL THE TIME.  Periodically check yourself by standing with your back to a wall.   Remember to keep your chin slightly tucked into your neck.  If you look at yourself from a side view, using a couple of mirrors, you'll see that this head position keeps your back and shoulders straight.  It gets easier after a couple of weeks, but this is actually more exhausting than you would think.

4.  Do some situps.  Just a few, but always keep your head, neck, and shoulders straight (don't curve your back).  This will help avoid lower back pain as you straighten out your posture.

4.   Adjust your seat (computer, in your car, everywhere you can) to recline back.  This keeps your shoulders back and puts the weight of your head onto your neck rather than bringing your shoulders forward.  You can rest your head on the headrest in your car until your neck gets strong enough to support your head.

There is HOPE.  I was a big weightlifter for years and overworking my chest created this problem.  I also had horrible posture, that I'm still working on fixing.  But, I think I'm moving in the right direction.  

I also thought I was doomed.  I went to a physical therapist for ultrasound treatments on my left rhomboid, but the problem came back a couple of months later and never went away.

Don't give up!
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PLEASE PLEASE read HEALING BACK PAIN and THE MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION by John E. Sarno.  I posted this back in February.  I urge you to read these books. I AM 90% BETTER, and can live my life now, thanks to these books.  No therapies needed, nothing.  Just these books.  This problem has nothing to do with our backs, and everything to do with emotions and stress, and by recognizing this, you have the power to help it.  Read the books!

Here's what I wrote here back in February:
I have had the same rhomboid problem for 3.5 years.  Now my entire upper back and neck are in chronic spasm, and often my sides.  And I have been following this forum.

But after trying everything that everyone else here has tried, I FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE, and I hope you all take my advice.

We've all had tests done, and they all come back fine.  We may have a herniated disc, but that can't explain all the pain, and all the spasms. Even my doctors said that!  We've gone to physical therapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, etc.  And nothing helps.

Last week I went to an osteopath doctor and she told me about a doctor (John E. Sarno) who has written several books on back pain and talks about something called TENSION MYOSITIS SYNDROME (TMS).  Something that affects a certain type of personality--people like us--active, high achieving people.  Basically what this entails is that all the repressed anger, anxiety, and other emotions that we avoid thinking about, get pushed so far back into our mind that our brain turns it into physical pain because they are not being dealt with.  

I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but it makes sense to me  now, since I have tried everything and there is no medical explanation for the problem.  After that visit to the doctor, I started reading HEALING BACK PAIN, by Sarno.  And the book describes the condition (better than I did above), who it affects, how it works and how to fix it (by getting to the root of the repressed emotions).  He gives several examples of patients of his who he has helped recover completely.  He says he has helped thousands of people.  He is located in New York City.  The other book by Sarno I was told to read is called THE MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION.  

I haven't finished the book yet, but some things I want to point out are that Sarno says not only muscle, but nerves and tendons and ligaments can be affected by TMS.  He says the muscles "that are susceptible to TMS are those in the back of the neck, the entire back, and the buttocks, known collectively as postural muscles."  (that's why we tend to think this is a postural problem).  He also mentions tennis elbow and rotator cuff disorder which some of you have mentioned, that tennis elbow often left in his patients and that a rotator cuff diagnosis may be TMS.

People that have posted here who do get relief from something, probably don't have TMS, but for the rest of is who have tried everything (and spent so much money!), this may be the answer.  Our doctors didn't tell us that our problem could be all stress/tension/emotion related, because they are trained to believe that a physical problem has a physical explanation, not a psychological one.  I hope you take this seriously and get those books or look up doctor Sarno's practice.  I have faith in this.  The worse our pain gets (to further distract us from what we are emotionally avoiding), the more disabled we become, and the more focused on the pain we become, until is takes over.  All this is talked about and explained in the book, and it makes so much sense, and like I said, it explains everything better than I do. I hope at least someone gets those books and will read them and post back.
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I have had this same rhomboid problem since December 2008.  For the last three weeks I have taken a wheatgrass shot everyday.  I have also been using a chi machine for fifteen minutes every day for the last three weeks as well.  I kid you not my back is 70% better.  I read that wheatgrass can help with inflammation, that was the part of my muscle that would not seem to get better,and I was sick of taking ibuprofen.  I dare you to drink wheatgrass everyday for two weeks and see if it helps!!  Start at 1oz. and after two weeks bump up to two.  There are more than 30 benefits to taking wheatgrass.  After more than six months in excruciating pain I was willing to try anything, I'm really glad I did.  Drink wheatgrass!!!!!
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I read through all of the postings, and I think I have something new to add.  I live in Hawaii and suffer from right Rhomboid pain (a terrible burning pain).  I have started a treatment for the pain that is different from everyone here.  It is called Prolotherapy.  You should look it up online.  There is an MD on the Big Island of Hawaii that flies over to Oahu monthly to do the injections. Basically, there is a belief among those who practice prolotherapy that the pain in many areas of our body is coming from loose/weakened tendons/ligaments.  During prolotherapy, Dextrose is injected into the weakened ligament or tendon.  Dextrose is an irritant which causes inflammation.  The inflammation causes increased blood flow to the area.  The end result is hopefully a stronger and thicker ligament/tendon.  Many people have been helped by this procedure.  I haven't finished all of the injections yet so I can't give a full analysis, but this MD has been on the news here in Hawaii, and there have been a lot of very happy patients.  She treats the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and back and pretty much anywhere there are ligaments and tendons.  Good Luck everyone.
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I am a 49-year-old mathematician who began to suffer for months with acute right rhomboid pain, quite severe. I attributed this to use of a computer mouse for the past 2 decades, and sought care from a chiropractor. A standard radiogram of my thoracic spine ruled out a boroken rib, and revealed some arthritis and minor scoliosis. I found some relief from TENS and my PCP put me on Vicoden. Increasingly, I could not sleep at night, the pain growing when I lay down to encompass my entire upper right back area. Increasingly, the pain shot down my right underarm and into my right forearm and wrist, which burned continuously. My Vicoden dosages approached lethal levels. My chiropractor referred me to a Pain Management physician, and I was lucky to find one who was young enough to take charge of things. He tried a local Lidocaine injection, which did not solve the problem. He added Neurontin to my meds and this let the Vicoden dosage stay sub-toxic. He tried a sleeping pill, which did not help. In my desperation to avoid liver failure, I found some Tranadol I'd purchased in Mexico. At low doses, it was not effective. But at higher doses, 300mg per day, it was beautiufully effective, frankly better than Vicoden or Percoset, and it is non-narcotic. The doc was happy to write Trmadol for me.. He sent me to Physical Therapy, and one month later the pain abated. My PT noted my thoracic spine continued to hurt even when the rhomboid pain had subsided- she "diagnosed" a nerve impingement. Then, one day later, I felt a "snap" at the base of my neck, and the pain turned back on, in full force. The doc ordered an MRI (finally), wjhich revealed 2 fully herniated/ruptured discs in my *cervical* spin, C4-5 and C5-6. Within 3 days, I had surgery, Anterior Cervical Spine Fusion x 2, and upon waking up the pain in my right arm was gone, forever. It's been 3 weeks, and if I stop my meds for 24 hours I still have pain in my thoracic spine but it is much less and, importantly, it does not overwhelm me at night. I'm on Tramadol 200mg (Ultram ER) BID (yes, I know) and nothing else. I'm pain-free. My neck is a bit stiff, of course.

The moral of the story is, fight your way thru the system to get an MRI. The Insurance Companies want you to try all manners of conservative therapies here, including spending your own money on holistic approaches. But my pain was exactly as so many of you described in here, and it turned out there was a huge structural defect in me that could never be massaged away, so to speak. Disc fragments compressed my spinal cord by more than 70%- my surgeon at the teaching hospital put my "textbook" MRI up on a screen in the OR so his students could see it.

The other moral is, try Ultram ER higher dose. It is as effective as an opioid, without the side effects, including the personality and mood issues. It does not make you as high as a kite- you can still "feel" your pain if you concentrate on it. But you can go about your life.
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I have eliminated mine through this:
1. DO Not do anything that stretches the muscles in your back, this will make it worse because they are probably overstretched
2. Because they are overstretched your chest is too tight. Start stretching your chest daily (I used light dumbbells and held the bottom portion of a dumbbell fly for about 30 seconds, 3 times a day).
3. Be aware of how you are sleeping.  If you sleep on your back try sleeping on your side and make sure your back is not in a position where it is stretching the rhomboid area.  If you continue sleeping on your back make sure the pillow is under your head and not under your head and shoulders (this causes a rounded back).
4. Work at these because it will probably take at least a week to feel any improvements.  I used to get pain in the rhomboid area about 2 to 4 times a month and it lasted for several days. Since I have implemented these fixes, I have been without pain for almost a year now.
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I forgot to add this:
Very important: Look into improving posture. Try the following test. Take two pencils and grip them with your fists and let your arms relax at your sides while standing like you normally would. Now look down at the pencils. Which way do they point? Are they parallel? Parallel means correct posture. If you are having this back pain chances are the pencils will be point inward toward each other.  

To fix this pull your shoulders back until the pencils are parallel to each other.  If you are to eliminate your pain and fix your posture you must maintain this new shoulder position until it becomes normal for you (this will take time, just maintain the posture and the pain should go away soon).
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Unemployed - can you give an update? i have the exact same problem and don't know what to do. it seems hopeless..it's like there is no way to diagnose or treat the problem.
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I have had rhomboid problems for the last 5 years on and off, have tried everything, nothing worked, just received some new advice to seek chiropractors who specializes in ART (Active Release Techniques)have a really good feeling about this, haven't been yet, end of this week will start but look into ART specialist.
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This is the second time I have had  a Rhomboid pain attack in 2 years.  The first time, I rolled out of bed to get up and WOW!  Something did not feel right.  Pain in right side of neck, pain below  right shoulder blade, and pain  under right arm pit side of body.  I also experienced  aching pain in right forearm that went right thru me.  Sound familar?  

Like many of you, I tried chiropractors, acupuncture, orthepedics, Physical therepy, antiflamatories, muscle relaxers.  All of these things did absolutely nothing.  Even pain medicines do nothing.  I got an MRI the other day, but had to be backed out of the machine after 2 minutes due to the pain.  I can not lay flat long enough.  Even typing this right now hurts like hell and am now standing to finish.  

I mentioned this is the second time I had have this. The first time, after all of the above failed (6 months), I found a great massage therapist that was able to get the pain out in about 3 sessions, 5 days apart.  I did absolutely nothing in between those days and was 100% cured.  I truely believe excessive stretching agravates the rhomboid muscle  and makes it inflamed even more.  It needs time to rest & heal after any treatments.

This time around, my massage therapist is away and my wife advised to use her chiropractor.  I am getting no relief  there either and also tried another massage therapist.  After a few moments massaging around the Rhomboid area, she had to stop, because she thought that she felt a rib out of place.   Ok...back to the chiropractor for xray, ribs are fine.  

This chiropractor has given me ultra sound treatments, Electrical node treatments, streching, and of course adjustments.  Nothing  works, pain has been getting worse every day.  This is why I mentioned that too much is no good, that rhomboid muscle needs to rest.  

I hope I have not done further damage to myself this time around.  I can only pray that my original massage therapist gets back soon to put me back together.
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My rhomboids have been hurting on and off for the last few years, I've had MRI, bonescan, x-rays and i've gone to chiropractors and everything, nothing worked. I recently just started getting (ART)active release treatments actually last night was only my second treatment and I woke up this morning feeling great no pain, I had forgotten what it felt like to be pain free. Now I can't wait until my next treatment, from I've read, it only takes a few treatments, up to 6 depending on the person. You can look up for a ART provider in your area, make sure you research the DC that they are well trained and qualified for ART. For anyone who lives in Orange County, my doctor is Dr. Cris Barkmeier in Garden Grove, I think its called Orange County Pain Management in garden Grove, he is great with ART treatments, my back feels great and I've only had 2 treatments so far,if I don't have any more pain, I might not even need anymore. just google ART providers in your area, trust me, it works!
Tiffany
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I am 43, and suddenly found myself in agony 7 months ago after a night of sleeping on an air mattress with someone larger than I (I kept bracing to prevent rolling down into them).  I had no idea how bad the injury was, and it has been quite debilitating.  Utrasounds, x-rays etc. of the back and shoulder etc. came up with nothing.  The pain seemed to keep moving - first it was superspinus, then trapazoid...now the doc says for sure it is rhumboid. (?) I've done research, and think that stiff rib syndrome also plays a role for me.  

Recently I've had some improvements and am hoping it is going to get better.

First off, it can be a number of factors - injury, stiff rib syndrome, many others, causing this condition, so what works for one may not work for everyone.  Here's what's working for me:

1) physiotherapy plus chiropractor (focus on ribs) plus massage - 7 months so far, regularly
2) 15 to 30 minutes per night with a heating pad (don't use cold on an old issue, only on fresh injuries!)
3) Meloxicam anti-inflammatory medication
4) Stretches and exercises given to me by my doctor and physio*
5) Rest for several months until physio gave clearance to go to gym as part of rehab
6) Deep breathing, acceptance, hope and determination

Doctor's stretches given:
*put one hand behind your back, and reach up to clasp fingers with the other hand, which is reaching down the back of your neck - hold 20 seconds. do both sides
* clasp fingers together behind back, arms straight down, knuckles down.  Turn hands slowly so thumbs poke into your butt, and knuckles face up.  If possible, push away from body
* range of motion with neck (left/right, up/down, but not too hard!)

Physio stretches given:
* lie on a ball or stool etc. with core supported, legs outstretched and strong, put your arms out like wings, point your thumbs back behind you.  Lift your arms back and up, hold, release, repeat 15x
* light pushups against the door - about 15 of them, 2 sets
* later on, she had me go to the gym and do light tricep pull down, light bicep curl, wall crawl with ball and a few others.  I could not do this months ago, but now I can. Core strength (yoga is good for that) helps with posture.  At first I couldn't do yoga anymore, but now I can can, gently.

For those who have had this pain for decades, I honestly don't know if the same approach would help.  For the women and men being put on anti-depressants, please be wary.  Meds are a good part of the treatment, but some doctors just use meds and ignore the rest of the healing process.

Also, I think anti-depressants are over-prescribed (and I have a hard time believing they are good for pain, but maybe they are...some doctors are really smart people!).  Being hurt and deprived of things we enjoy (gym, work etc.) cause us to be depressed, but moderate depression can be shown to improve with 30 minutes of walking per day.
Women, especially, are vulnerable to doctors who, even centuries later, tend to give them shut-up meds instead of treating them like they would a fit male who suddenly is debilitated.  Just my opinion.

Healing love to all of you
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2 more important exercises from the physio that helped:
* elastic tubing, tied around a doorknob - bend arm at elbow 90 degrees in front (pointing straight ahead of you), and loop the elastic around your hand, thumb facing up.stretch tubing to the outside (eg. if left hand, out to the left), and back to neutral.  Switch sides of the door, pull and across body to stretch tubing tight. (eg. if left hand, pull across to the right side).  Try not to have the tubing angled up or down...straight out.  Start with 12 or 15 reps, 2 sets. Do the good side too.
* Lie on your side, with your elbow bent and your hand out on the floor in front.  Grab a soup can. Lift the lower half of your arm away from your body (similar to the tubing exercise). Keep everything soft - eg. not pinching your elbow into your side. Lower the can back to the ground. 12-15 reps, 2 sets.  Do the good side too (as with all exercises).
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It took me years of suffering and visits to numerous doctors, chiro's, MT's and alike to realize what many of you have pointed out.  The rhomboid pain is cause by tight pectoral muscles that subsequently caused overstretched back mucsles and a muscle imbalance.  I have been able to eliminate a lot of the pain by eliminating exercises that build the chest muscles and increasing back exercises.  The idea is to have the muscles balanced as opposed to an imbalance and therfor complement each other.  If you decide to go the chiropractor route, please take my advise and use a chiripracor that uses the "activator" method.  It is less vilent and much safer.  The streches in the doorway that are described above are also helpful.
good luck.
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I just found this website.  It's terrible that we have to live with this pain, I'm 28, in the military, and have competed in triathalons so I'm in really good shape.  I've had surgery on both my shoulders(banckart repair) due to dislocations, with hopes that it would help relieve the pain in my rhomboid area.  I've been going to physical therapy for about a year now, but I'm still living with the pain.  I first experienced it 8 years ago, after I dislocated my shoulder, I was lifting up what we call shore ties(heavy land cables) over my heavy, and I felt something tear apart.  I was told that it was a torn muscle and not too worry that it'll heal, a month later I went back cus of the pain and was told it takes about a year to heal.  Now 8 years later, I'm still waiting for it to heal, I've gone through EMG, MRI's, physical therapy, seeked solutions from surgeons....and all I got is pretty much deal with it, there's nothing anyone can do, some even accused me of lying for meds.  It's nice to know I'm not alone in this, but no one around me can relate.  I just had a daughter, and I'm having a hard time picking her up for longer than a few minutes without dealing with the pain, same with most activities I do throughout the day.  I even have pain while driving.  I continue to try strengthening that area of muscles, but still haven't notice much change, so far quick stretching relieves it, but only for the time of the stretch.  I have taken strong pain meds that help, but I really don't want to have to depend on them my entire life.....reading everyone's post it seems that we might not have any real solution, but atleast I'm not alone, and that's not a terrible thing for me.
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Unbelievable how so many of us are going through this.  I'm 31 and have been dealing with very similar upper back & neck pain for about 10 years.  I was first diagnosed with costochondritis due to chest pain, then the shoulder, then you know the story.  

I have not done as much research as I should, nor have I had many treatments.  I will say that my chiropractor has educated me as to why the pain.  I believe in his diagnosis (degenerative disc disorder) b/c it seems to be right on but after going to him for a few months, I really haven't had much improvement.

I will continue to go to my chiropractor but will also read the books suggested above & will start a stretching, less stress, & good posture regiment.

As soon as I see positive results (yes, I'm hopeful), I will let everyone know.

Good luck to all of us!!!
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I am 31 years and old and it's crazy to see how many people are experiencing rhomboid/shoulder pain, I know this thread is old, but I see people are still posting on here.  Mine randomly happened in February although I have had about 10 years of back pain...and muscle relaxers, chiro, PT have not helped.  It's funny, I haven't seen this in any of the posts, I am currently being treated for a depression/anxiety/mood disorder.  Sometimes emotional pain can cause physical pain, just like when they say depression hurts.  I also think I might have a sleeping problem and I am waiting for a sleep study to be done.  Not sleeping well can play a major role in your body not relaxing and that is why that muscle will probably not relax either.  I have high hopes that once my anti-depressant starts working and I get the results from my sleep study early next month, I will see improvement in my pain.  I will come back and update you all!
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i have jumped all the hoops. e:g tests galore, physio, massage, chiropracter, exercise, & accupuncher. i hurt myself many years ago, while working at woodlands, all i did, was make a sudden turn. no dr. believes this. 2 times now i have been in a minor position, & have blacked out, where i couldn:t breath & felt i was going to have a heart attack. i jumped up fast & oh the relief of being able to suddenly breath again,wow, but of course no dr. buys into this either. i can actually feel the nerve in my thoracic spine, every day, and my ribs feel like they are being squeezed so hard, that it feels like there is no room for my heart. when i had my mri done, my dr. said everything looked fine. well my husband sees everyday how i suffer, & push my self to keep going. so 5 years later he came to the dr. with me. he asked the dr. what the mri had shown. well i have an enlarged heart, scoleosis, bone spurs, padding missing from between the bones, arthritis, ankylosing spondyltis, and fibromyalgia. needless to say i am now on ltd. oh an on top of this i survived a rare breast cancer, if it returns, i will be terminal. i also had c- dificile for 8 months, it took 3 antibiotics, to finally wipe it out. amazing though how, that mri was normal, but when my husband asked about it, it grew in information.i have suffered from lower back pain since i was a teen. i had a uriter valve transplant when i was 7. i had cervical cancer when i was 27. i had  breast cancer when i was 42. i had a hysterectomy when i was 40. this dr. could shave down the bone spurs, to give me some relief, but as he said why bother, as they:ll just grow back again. i saw a documentary on the dr. show that has a new procedure in the states for bone spurs, where they will not come back, but here in kamloops b.c. canada, we don:t have the know how, or maybe they just don:t care.so my husband bought me this very hard back cushion, that is called homedics, believe me it really helps, oh yea & i live on oxycocet. may21/2010
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I am reading all your comments in tears. I have many of the same symptoms described and have suffered for 8 yrs. Tried all the stuff mentioned. Only thing that ever worked for me was neck traction, worked for a long time, very well. Then when I was pregnant was advised not to use traction because it would make labor more difficult. Did yoga during rest of pregnancy and rarely had pain. After baby was born pain returned and nursed for 12 mos and traction didn't work anymore and couldn't take meds. When my son was 2 months my pt actually recommended stop nursing and take nerve meds. I wasn't willing to do that since I wanted to bond. Now meds aren't working anyway. What a disappointment thinking I'd been denying myself something that doesn't deliver.

Neck traction is no longer helping. I think my inflammation has surpassed whatever relief the gentle neck traction used to provide. Acupuncture worked for a while but financial situation won't allow me to keep it up. I feel for all of you. It helps and hurts knowing that there are so many others feeling as I do. I'm starting to become depressed because after 8 yrs and countless therapy routes and $$ there is no end in sight and I know I'm a crappy mom a lot because of the constant pain which makes me even more despondent. Friends and family are commenting on my personality change. Used to be happy, outgoing, positive even when faced with challenges. Esp didn't cry over something like physical pain. And never, ever took pain or other meds unless absolutely necessary. I even decline it at the dentist. I can tough it out when I know there will be an end.

For those who haven't tried neck traction, you can do this easily at home with an over-the-door device from medical supply store. My doc recommended 45 degree angle, 10lbs of weight, 10 mins, every other day. Get a prescription. Angle, weight, duration all depend on which Cs are affected. It worked so well but I think it was only un-doing the damage of the day caused by poor posture or whatever.

For lower rhomboid pain I sit in a chair and cross the ankle of the hurting side over the knee of the good side and lean forward as far as you can starting with your minimum edge of pain for as long as you can. Gently stretch. Take a few mins if you can. Will also stretch mid area too if you hang your arms over your head so they touch the ground. You can do same stretch lying on your back and pull the good knee towards your chest. That gives me 1 hr or so relief while I'm working on the computer. I've found hamstring stretches help a bit too, esp grabbing the ankle or top of toes to stretch the arms at the same time. That's what kills me. Drs don't seem to take me seriously because I'm still very flexible. I guess they think I'm exaggerating my pain level but I'm flexible because I stretch a lot trying to get rid of the pain and having not been on pain med not knowing what else to do. I eat very healthy and take fish oil tabs and stuff. I still walk a lot and get out with my kids trying to push through the pain because nothing makes the pain worse or better anyway. I can't imagine how much worse I would be if I didn't have a healthy lifestyle.

Looking forward to checking out the various posture links cited above. Prayers to all of you. Thanks for listening.
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Brachial plexus impinged work rhomboids stretch ice work range of motion good luck
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I have pain in both rhomboids and massive build up of scar tissue on both sides. When it gets really bad, you can see a bulge on both sides if I aggravate it. Ironically, the only thing that helps is ice and grinding the muscles against hard objects which provides relief, but aggravates the muscle and causes, you guessed it, more scar tissue. I tried all the muscle relaxants. I'm about to go pick up a $200 prescription for lidocaine patches. It's a vicious circle and i'm going out of my mind. I want to get surgery to remove the fist-siized scar tissue. Has anyone tried this??
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It is so good to know that I am not alone. My doctors call me a medical mystery. I don't even know what I did to cause the pain in the first place.  I've taken pain meds, muscle relaxants, seen several chiropractors, pain docs, therapists, had several trigger point injections & epidurals...but, no relief.

Based on everyone's comments, I have put a list of maybe 10 things that I'm going to try. I am prayerful that something will help. And, when it does, I promise promise promise to report back to you.


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I thought I'd add my name to the list. I've also had chronic dull pain in my right rhomboid for 10 years (I'm 27 now). Occasionally it is a sharp pain. I don't think any single event caused it. I think it has been caused by bad posture and improper weight lifting. Squeezing the shoulder blades together when doing cable rows, I'm told, will probably help, which is often neglected.
If I sit down for a long time and try to have perfect posture, that area of my back will get really warm.
I've tried massages, chiropractor, yoga etc. just like you folks and haven't found relief. Right now I'm trying Rolfing. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. It seems to be legit.
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Finally, after 6 weeks, a massage therapist was the first to suggest my upper left back quadrant pain is likely due to an inflamed rhomboid.  she has made the first sensible suggestion in weeks...and man, did she work me over today.  I never heard such cruching and snapping, and talk about tender to the touch, but I must say I felt terific the rest of the day.  Not until later in the evening, did I have to take Skelaxin ( relaxer) and tylenol for discomfort.  

I have been recently diagnosed with moderate gastritis and a highly inflamed stomach.  I thought the back pain was related, though my gastro Doc seemed doubtful.  Tummy improving with meds and bland diet.  Expect to heal in the next two months if I am good to myself.

And interstingly, the intensity of the back pain has definitely lessened.  Tramadol helps with pain management, and it does seem that Valtoren, the anti-inflammatory helps.  But it does intensify if I sit at the computer for any period of time.  I am just miserable with this.  Thought I was having a heart attack at one point, and my sternum on the left side was tender to the touch.  But tummy biopsies were negative for h.pylori, and ultra sound proved negative for any gall bladder,liver, and kidney issues.  Next up will be my back surgeon who did my lumbar spinal fusion 4 years ago.  Will try to rule out any significant spine causes.

I am interested in anyhow describing how to relax the rhomboids.
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For the last 3 weeks I have been experiencing right  upper rhomboid pain/spasms. I am a nurse who recently started working in the office at a computer. Funny, never had this problem when I was lifting 250# people. The pain is acute, with pain on deep inspiration radiating to the front of my chest. Tried Flexeril, just makes me sleepy, can't use at work. Using Motrin, probably too much since my gut feels horrible. (Nurse heal thyself). Haven't had an x-ray yet....should I bother?

Does PT really help? Massage? Trying the exercises. Also worse when I drive in a car.

Getting ready for a long 8 hour drive next week, any suggestions?
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Google MSM capsules and do your research.  I get mine from Rich Distributing.  Great stuff all natural.  Don't mess around with a couple of capsules.. I take 5 1000mg 3 times a day.  66 years old hardly any pain anywhere.  

Magnesium and lots of it for spasms.  again do your research on this.

For overall great health:  Google Dr. Sherry A. Rogers.
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in july 1998 i did a quick motion with my left arm after sitting in a chair that was bad for me causing all my muscles to be tight and tore soft tissue in my rhomboid area pretty badly, felt this horrible shock go up and down that side of my body. was in horrible pain for a month, then it was feeling better and maybe would have actually healed, but took a long 10 hour car trip and from then on it would feel worse when aggravated by too much sitting then heal then aggravated, but over time it became chronic. finally after going from doctor to doctor and trying one PT who did not understand the problem, finally found a doctor who sent me to a manual physical therapist. by this time the "injury" had formed a rope of trigger point material (scar tissue). also, all of the muscles surrounding the original site of injury had been in spasm for so long that they were weak and all in spasm (spasming muscles get weaker, weaker muscles spasm more easily, its a vicious cycle).

the first thing the PT tried was the lightest of massage, but my muscles were too sensitive and rebounded. a few days later when i went back, she said she was not surprised, that some people's muscles get into a state of extreme sensitivity and thus she brought out the ultrasound machine. it was the first thing that actually helped. it took a year of going twice a week for ultrasound and another two years of going weekly, but slowly the triggerpoints were shrinking. also she worked on the other muscles in the area, doing light massage on them and counterstrain to help the spasming muscles relax. also traction to my neck. during all of this, as the muscles got a little stronger, she added in gentle band exercises to start restrengthening things. but the neck was tricky, but swimming strengthened it.

i was getting better, as long as i didn't sit very long and as long as i didn't sit in my car for more than 30 minutes or so to go to work. no long car trips. also no other travel really, as sitting was next to impossible.

about a year into PT, she sent me to a physiatrist (doctor of physical / rehabilitative medicine). the first thing she did was put me on the muscle relaxant zanaflex. i still take it every night before bed. i also take it during the day as needed, but it does make me tired for about an hour (45 minutes after i take it) so i have to time it well, take a nap during that hour, maybe at lunchtime, close my office door and take a nap. but really most of the time these days i only need it at night.

right away she wanted to do triggerpoint injections, but i was leery, so we tried the PT and zanaflex for a year, but finally i let her try an injection. they were nothing short of miraculous. i had so many triggerpoints at that stage that i needed 3-4 injected every month for about a year. after that year, i was so much better, so long as i didn't sit much.

this brought me to 2003. and i had to move.

i now live in another city. have bought my own home ultrasound machine from mend me shop which i use as needed. go for triggerpoint injections when i need them though i honestly have very few triggerpoints left anymore.

sitting is still a challenge, but a few things have helped in this area.

i bought a swopper chair. one for work, another for home. it is the only thing i can sit on that does not make my back worse. if its already bad, then no sitting is possible, but if its ok, this is the only chair that does not aggravate. its a stool on a spring that has dynamic motion in all directions. it is the only chair that allows me to sit with the proper pelvic tilt to use the lower back muscles, taking all the strain off the rhomboids.

i still drive my 1995 saturn. newer car seats are a killer. i have no idea what i will do when my car finally dies. it has almost 200,000 miles on it. but i try not to think too far ahead, it makes me nervous.

i do not sit in the car typically for more than about an hour or so, after that the area fatigues and goes downhill.

if i travel by airplane, i take my zanaflex 30 minutes before boarding. and don't take flights more than about an hour long.

so, yes, i still have problems, that's why i'm here, but if i do all these things, i can usually keep it pain free and functional.

however, last fall, i drove somewhere a little too far and that set me way back. was out of work for 6 months. could not sleep on it except on ice (i have an inflammatory arthritis problem that affects my SI joints so can not lay on my sides and laying on my stomach would kill my neck, so the back it is). the worst part is that the pain would mess with my sympathetic nervous system, gave me gastritis, and IBS. and the pain was unbelievable. mostly i had to not sit to allow it to heal and take walks.

the only thing that dealt with the worst pain was an IF stim machine (its like TENS on steroids!). insurance would not pay for it and i had to return it, they said it was experimental. so i got a TENS machine but that's like a child's toy in comparison, basically with the TENS machine i have pain and tingling. but the IF stim machine actually worked on the pain.

i could not take narcotics or even tramadol because i started LDN for my inflammatory arthritis.

my home ultrasound machine also helped to heal it.

since march it was good. but last week it started again. this time i nipped it in the bud sooner with ice. ice has been a long part of my treatment, better than almost anything else, and oh so necessary. when it is good, as long as i sit with heat, that keeps it from getting bad, but if it is bad, ice is essential.

but this time, i wanted to heal it fast before it snowballed out of control. so i placed a flector patch (topical nsaid patch) over it. i have them for my SI joint, so cut one in half, left half for my SI joint, and put half over my bad rhomboid, and that really seems to make a difference.

so, i've found ultrasound, triggerpoint injections, exercises, zanaflex, ice, heat, and limited sitting to heal it and give me long periods of little to no pain there.

however, i would so love to be able to travel again. i miss getting in the car to visit my family. i dreamed of traveling the world when i was young. i don't want to have to miss work for 6 months when it gets bad. thus i was hoping there was some sort of surgery that could be done. but reading all of this, sounds like prolotherapy is the only thing that just might do it. but no prolotherapists in my area, the nearest is an hour away and until my back is healed again, i can't even think to go there.

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I have read through every post and am dejected to hear there is No Great Cure for rhomboid pain but am also glad to know that I am not alone! I had an appointment for trigger point injections, has anyone tried that? Will report back if it does or doesn't work. Please if there is any successful treatment post it here! I will be back!
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I have had rhomboid pain for almost two years now, costochondritis, had trigger point cortizone injections.  I've been going to Bikram Yoga for the last two weeks, and it has really helped with the pain.  I am open to trying anything because it has been a mostly painful 2 years.  I am super grateful something is working for once.  Good luck to all of you!   :)
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Got a medrol dose pack. I know this is just a quick fix but had to do something before my long 8 hour drive. The dose pack is helpful, but usually only helps about 8 hrs/day Will try the MSM as mentioned above and see if it is helpful.
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Has anyone tried prolotherapy shots? Its opposite from Cortisone but it works. Look for prolotherapist in your area. might take a few shots but it will work.
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I'm interested to know if any of you have double jointedness (also known as joint hypermobility)?  I have major problems with rhumboid major knotting up as a result of over usage.  As the larger muscles are trying to stop the joint from over movement from joint laxity in the supporting muscles and they get tired quickly and ache or snag easier as a result.  I did some physio exercises to strengthen the core muscles, improve posture and core strength and the pain started to lessen and eventually went away until I stopped doing the exercises.  If you are double jointed, you may wish to consider this as a cause.  I've had many trapped nerves and spinal issues, pulled muscles as a result of this.  Yoga or pilates is essential part of your weekly routine for anyone with joint hypermobility, to stop your limbs from flopping about!  You may also suffer with knee pain in the patella (just over the kneecap) and weak ankles too amongst other things.
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I'm interested to know if any of you have double jointedness (also known as joint hypermobility)?  I have major problems with rhumboid major knotting up as a result of over usage.  As the larger muscles are trying to stop the joint from over movement from joint laxity in the supporting muscles and they get tired quickly and ache or snag easier as a result.  I did some physio exercises to strengthen the core muscles, improve posture and core strength and the pain started to lessen and eventually went away until I stopped doing thhttp://www.medhelp.org/posts/Undiagnosed-Symptoms/Rhomboid-muscle-pain---10-years-with-little-relief/show/201839#e exercises.  If you are double jointed, you may wish to consider this as a cause.  I've had many trapped nerves and spinal issues, pulled muscles as a result of this.  Yoga or pilates is essential part of your weekly routine for anyone with joint hypermobility, to stop your limbs from flopping about!  You may also suffer with knee pain in the patella (just over the kneecap) and weak ankles too amongst other things.
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Actually the MSM has helped. I am taking 3 caps/twice daily. (3000mg). Some nausea at first, but eat a cracker with it and you should be fine. I wouldn't say the pain is completely gone, but it definitely has helped. Took a couple of weeks. I guess had to build up some sort of MSM level?
Anyway, try it, it could help.
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Have been in pain for last several weeks with apparent pinched nerve in C7 area, pain in trap/rhomboid area also passing into arm, with tricep weakness that was very intense and persistent.  I am finally getting some relief using combination of PT, home neck traction, and ibuprofen. Maybe I am not as severe as some others here, but I will offer my experience in case it will benefit someone.

Regarding stretching: I'm very athletic and flexible, and at first tried to "power" my way out of it. I eventually figured out that I was over-stretching. It's a balancing act. The tissues need time to recover and heal, so you may want to experiment with varying recovery times, and also varying intensity of stretching. Take a day off of stretching - it may be hard but give it a try and return more gently, and experiment. Trial and error is important, be patient.

I also found that neck traction really helped me during PT sessions, so I invested in a simple home system.  It really makes a difference for me. It takes some pressure off the nerve and gives it some time to calm down.  Also may help to increase blood flow in the affected area. And it just feels good. Just knowing I have something at home I can use for relief gives me a sense of control that is psychologically very important. Well worth the $50 or whatever !

Also, my PT-ist did ultrasound and manual tissue work and that helped to break up the knots.

And finally, "knowledge therapy" is very important.  Read some books, more than one, so you can understand your own condition - you know it better than anyone. I sympathize with many of the testimonials here and my heart goes out to those that are suffering. Don't give up.
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Did anybody try acupuncture from someone who actually knows Chinese Medicine or Japanese Acupuncture?  Seems like you have neurologists and doctors who have done a few weekend courses in medical acupuncture to relieve trigger points but no one has tried Chinese Medicine.

Amazing.  I had rhomboid trigger points that made it impossible to lay on my back on my acupuncturist's table without my left arm going numb and tingly. And the pain was really unbearable at different times.  

I finally got complete relief from a technique called Gua Sha. it's a scraping technique that seems a bit primitive but it allows the muscles to lay down new tissue and rebuild better than before. I now am pain-free and have not had any issues for a couple months.  No tension, no pain, no tingling.

If you have tried everything that there is to try in the Western world, I'd like to suggest that you give a real practitioner of Chinese Medicine or Japanese Acupuncture a try.

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Dude, I am glad I search for this.
This thing is killing me. I have been working out a lot but I start to get the pain here. Tonight I could not sleep because of the pain so I get up and search.

the pain is killing me it's hurt my elbow, shoulder, bicep, but it is really start from my rhomboid and infraspinatus.

I will read more about this, it is almost 3 am. in Japan already.

Btw, I had wasted a lot of money on PT already and it didn't kill the pain.
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You should be able to get a good Tens Unit for far less.  I bought one for 80 dollars Ultra EMS and it works the same as those at the pain clinics.  Doesn't really help but when you're in this type of pain you'll try anything.
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An older Canadian woman told me prior to my first shoulder surgery, "Shoulder surgery can be tricky."  I'm still in a terrible amount of pain after two surgeries and four plus years.  The pain is generalized to the entire scapula region, where the rhomboid connects to the spine, and Serratus Anterior.

It's disabling.

You start off convincing yourself to just give yourself more time.  The old time heals all wounds.  But as months and years pass and the pain is still there the pain gets worse because you start to feel what it does to your life.  I always felt I could handle any pain as long as I knew it was temporary.  It's when you don't know and see no signs of improvement and have exasperated most of your options medically when it gets worse.

Most don't want to turn to meds as they can mess up your life in a different way.  It's pretty much ruined my life as I knew it.  I was an athletic type also.  I continue to do therapy for scapular stabilizing.  Youtube has some great info.

If you have winging it could be long thoracic nerve damage or who knows what else.  All I can tell people is that this type of shoulder pain is terrible.  It's a lot worse than I ever thought shoulder pain could be.  Basically feels like carrying around a freshly broken bone 24/7.

It'll probably be 40 years and I'll be an old man and I'll finally say, hey my shoulder pain is gone.  Whatddya know I can start my life again.

It does help knowing you're not alone.  It sounds like a lot of people on here have varying degrees.  I would say if you think yours might not be super serious be thankful.
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I have had this same problem since I was 14. I’m assuming it’s the Rhomboideus, since no dr. has ever been able to diagnoses or help with the matter. I have been suffering with debilitating Rt. shoulder pain for 14 years, since I’m 28. I too have always wished there was a surgery to just clip this muscle. or take it out and pound it with a meat pounder. I have managed to find a few things that help my pain, temporally. If you’re interested in trying, the first suggestion was life changing for me...!!
A nurse showed me how to do this; she said it would release all the blood that is built up.  Step one:  lean head down with chin tucked toward chest and tilt head away from the painful shoulder. Sort of stretching the rhomboideus muscle.  Step 2. while stretching have some on put there thumb on your low neck and press or rub down in a horizontal-somewhat downward motion. 3. Repeat.  in my case this motion made a popping sound, but after about 35 strokes there was much less popping and a lot of relief.  Good luck I feel your pain.
sara
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I did not take time to read all the comments because it will irritate my pain but also felt I was an "orphan" w/my pain. I have suffered w/this prob. for 30 years periodically for usually 6-8 weeks at a time. I saw an M.D that specialized in shoulders many years ago and the minute he walked in the room he said "you have a torn rhomboid muscle". He put me in a figure 8 which stopped my pain instantly. I have not used it lately because it seemed to quit working but thinking of going back. I have also found that a T.E.N.'s unit helps but I live alone and it is very difficult to get the patches put on. (you can buy these and the electrodes on Amazon w/o a script) It has been so bad this time, I have been tempted to get someone to stick a needle in "my spot" to try to stop the spasms. Hope this may help some of you.
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I have had extreme rhomboid pain for almost 18 months - deep, stabbing pain that felt likea  hot poker was in my back, and finally had a chiropractor tell me that this was also causing what I thought was carpal tunnel in my left hand and also the chest muscle pain I had.  That said - adjustments didn't help me at all.

I've done a ton of research on this, and a few weeks ago came across a website for weight lifters that discusses rhomboid pain and the author claimed it was because the rhomboid was over-stretched, not tight at all. I too, used tennis balls, bi-weekly massage, etc because I thought it would help, but after reading that article and researching further some of the topics, I started actually stretching my CHEST muscles, and exercising my back muscles more.

Simply lying on a bench or even my bed, I raise my arms over my head and just let them stretch behind me for several minutes at a time to stretch the chest muscles. To strength the rhomboid, simply squeeze your shoulder blades together for ten seconds or so, pulling your elbows back like you're trying to get them to touch. Do this several times - as much as you are able.

I was very sore when I first started doing this and thought I was causing more harm than good, but after a week, the pain started subsiding, and now, about three weeks later, I haven't had rhomboid pain in several days!
I still have some lingering chest muscle tightness - but it is also going away.  After the pain I've had for so long, I'm in heaven! No pain releivers, tennis balls, heating pads, ice packs - nothing has ever done this much good for me and it's so simple.

I hope this helps someone!
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I injured myself from a fall in 1996. This past year in February 2010 I had C5, C6 & C7 fused. The "roto rooter" was great for the occassional paralysis in the arms. The muscle down the right back have damage and continually in pain. Flare ups are the worst for me because I have been taking rx for so many years. I did meet with a doctor that did "Trigger Point Injections with Lidocaine". I was pain free for several weeks with regular injections. I excercise daily with TaeKwonDo and got my Black belt during the injection times. It has been suggested that I see a Pain Specialist for Botox injections. This last week of rhomboid pain has been awful, I am almost to the point of not being able to stand up with no relief from the pain until it passes. Anyone have anything to say about Botox?
Mom in Ventura
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My dad has been suffering for the last 9 months or so from rhomboid pain.  He also has gone thru all the medical tests, PT, muscle relaxers etc.  We are now experiementing with Essential Oils.  The very first time he tried lavender.  Lavender is a overall helpful oil for many conditions.  For the past month he has been using Pan-Away from Young Living.  Just this week I have had him switch to Oregano- for the past two days it has brought relief.

In using the oils,  my mom rubs 2-3 drops on the affected area and relief is almost immediate and he stays symptom free for the day.  It seems like we have a natural & easy 'treatment' for pennies a day.
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I had a right side rhomboid strain/pull/tear as well for the past several years, but really aggravated it last August.  I was taking a series of airplane trips and carrying a bunch of luggage over my right shoulder and running through the airport, which really must have further injured the region.  After trying to deal with it by myself (i.e., ibuprofin, ice, ben-gay, self massage using table corners, having my young son pound on it repeatedly with his little fists), I went to visit my doctor-friend a few months ago.  He is an American-educated MD, and used to be the head of family medicine at a well-established hospital in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, but has since changed his practice to include a lot of alternative medicine/eastern healing techniques.  He has extensive training and study in this field of medicine (as well as his family medicine background), so he is well-versed in both eastern and western approaches to healing.

Let me say, I had one informal treatment, in which he gave me intense massage to the area, and then went for a formal treatment session at his office.  There he applied accupuncture, fire cupping treatment, and injections of some sort into that area.  After the one informal and formal treatment, immediately, everything has been absolutely perfect.  I have had no pain or issues with the rhomboid since and it is better than it has ever been.  Literally, it is as good as new and I have had no pain there at all.

This is not an ad for my doctor friend, but an honest evaluation and synopsis of my experience with this pain.  I will leave his practice website information for anyone who wants to try his treatment...I can't guarantee anything, but all I can say is I am fully cured and feel great.  If you are in the Philadelphia area, or if you are at your wit's end and are willing to travel a bit to see him, I can only encourage you to do so.

HIs practice website is:

www.chunginstitute.com

good luck to everyone, I hope everyone has a full recovery, no matter the method.
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One more thing, I just recalled that the series of injections I was given during my treatment were of some kind of dextrose solution.  Dextrose is some kind of sugar, I believe, and the theory was that this solution provides a mild irritation to the muscle region, and promotes the release of body healers to the area which will aid in healing the muscle tear or strain.  Just some more information on what worked for me...
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I have had the same rhomboid muscle pain that is being discussed for almost 8 years now.  It is so bad that I can't do my job as a baker & cake decorator.  I felt like it was an overuse injury for standing in such a bad position and working the muscles hard while in those positions.  I've tried EVERYTHING!  I've finally found a doctor in Colorado (Kenneth Pettine) who is the inventor of the artificial disc.  He is the first one to actually know the issue and how to help!  It turns out I have a torn disc at C5/C6 along with bone spurs.  Because of this, it is sending messages through my nerves to hold that muscle tight...amongst other things.  Next month I will be having an artificial disc replacement...I am REALLY looking forward to being pain free!!
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i've had the same pain in my rhomboid and also in my wrists/ shoulder/legs/lower back etc.

the rhomboid pain got really severe after overworked by pushing a pallet jack. i was unable to move for a few days and had to go to physio for 2 weeks.

i've been to doctors before and was hoping if i told them exactly where my pain was and desrcibed it as best as i can that they would be able to hlpe me this time.

wrong.

the physio therapists said my back was tight but there was one spot(rhomboid which i know now from doing my own research) was really really sensitive and she couldn't tell why. she said "keep stretching and one day we'll be able to get in there and figure out what's wrong"

sorry but i have no faith in traditional medicine!

i didnt' improve much after physio so i took matters into my own hands......

i stopped taking all medication the doctors prescribed.

i started taking "hypericum peforatum" and a chinese herb blend that used alcohol(i don't use it anymore to this day)

i stopped doing heavy lifting got a job behind a desk (which can be worse depending on your pain)

i stretched EVERYDAY! (it takes forever but over time you do see results DONT GIVE UP STRETCHING!)

i ate only healthy foods and drank LOTS of water to keep moisture flowing between my muscle tissues. ("fascia"...look it up)

i also was very conscious of how my body was positioned when i sleep. (pretty much always on my back even though it was so hard to do at times) and when i used a computer.

over time(a long time) my pain went down and i was able to start working out again.

i did p90x(i don't recommend this for everyone) for the 3 months and I felt like a new man!

then i stopped working out and everything went downhill.

long story short i increased my time behind a computer (13hrs-16hrs a day) and slowly i got stiff again. i went to do a p90x chest workout after a few months of not working out and i pulled/ripped a muscle in my trap. that pull/tear continued down into my rhomboid and i was/am back to square 1.

right now i'm only using the computer for work purposes and resting at home. i'm stretching again everyday and also going to acupuncture.

i truly believe the body needs a balance and doing anything repetitively over a course of time WILL cause you pain. there is no escaping it.

all we can do is be conscious of how much time we are spending...take breaks and also EXERCISE!

what you don't use you lose and what you use too much of you will damage.

i'm currently still in pain but i'm confident that i will get back to where i was approx 5 months ago.

in my opinion it's sad that a doctor can't figure out how to fix this problem. at the end of the day it's a lesson that we need to take care of ourselves and do our own research if we want to succeed or live a healthy life.

my best advice is to stop taking medication and do some research into some natural remedies that will actually help you rather than mask the pain. also STRETCH.

last thing.

a pain in my hand/wrist can be relieved by stretching my neck. a pain running down my arm can be relieved by stretching my neck. sound weird but everything is connected!

also! look into deep tissue fascia massage.

hope somebody benefits from this info!
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Have you guys ever thought of doing something much different than the conventional medicine???

ROLFING, STEM CELL TREATMENT, HYPERBARIC OXYGEN, COLD THERAPY (LLLT)?

I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and i have had been through so much. ECT. the problem is with all these treatments end up costing thousands of dollars!!  I need my muscles to be pulled out like a vacuum machine sucking dirt with high power to pull the muscle but there is no invention of that and with my elite expensive vacuum it just shouts the power down. I am even tried using a plunger to suck the muscles but it does not work when there is air.

This is a complicated issue.
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I have the same rhomboid issue that we all do here, but have identified the cause, one which nobody has talked about so far in the comments. Much like everyone else here, I have tried everything: physio, chiro, Chinese massage, Thai massage, stretching, yoga, cupping, acupuncture, electrical currents sent through the muscle, etc.

The cause was identified to me when i went and saw an osteopath. He said my hips were out of alignment which was causing an asymmetry in the body, which was causing me to be off balance when I walked, which caused spasms in the rhomboid on the right side.

He twisted and stretched me back into alignment which alleviated the pain. Combine that with a really very strong massage and you will be pleased with the result.

I don't know if that is going to help everyone here, but it's worth a shot at visiting an osteopath to see if your body is out of alignment. If your problem is on one side, it sounds like an indication of some sort of asymmetry. A good thing about osteopaths is they don't say come back and visit me twice a week for another 6 to 9 months like a physio will. A few sessions and the root of the problem is treated, rather than just the symptoms.
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Has anyone had a 3D imaging of their spine? MRI and CT scans dont show everything. You can ask more specifically if they can look at the 1st rib. I  use the KKT International imaging that showed my NECK  was off by 5 DEGREES.

There could be THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME involved if you feel your neck, shoulder, and arm muscles are in effect. Feel underneath the COLLAR BONE to feel if one side of the bone (1st rib) sticks out compared to the other.

Check out information on ADVANCED BIOSTRUCTURAL CORRECTION on YOUTUBE as well, It may be helpful in doing your own investigation on your medical endevour.
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Thanks to everyone here--my rhomboid misery sure loves company. You know what I mean. I actually wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy...
I just want to say i had multiple traumas from sports, a fight and a car wreck and I've had over 16 years of shoulder blade pain--only on the right side.
But I am about 80% better due to neck fusion at C5-6.
The definitive test for me was a MYELOGRAM (look out!).
And the cause of the shoulder blade pain was a crushed DORSAL SCAPULAR NERVE.
I hear most shoulder blade is caused by neck injury or deformity.
Surgery is no joke but it beats jumping out a window or paralysis, which in my case, they worried what could happen to my right hand agility in the future.
thanks again,
Kelly
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Try eliminating milk and dairy from your diet for a while and see what happens.  I just started experimenting trying my own diagnosis on what foods might be affecting and making me feel tired during the day.  Since I was drinking milk on a regular basis, and cream in my coffee daily, I thought that I would try eliminating them next.  Ironically, I'm not sure if it has helped my tiredness yet, it has only been 2 weeks however, my chronic back pain in the rhomboid and trapezoid area is absolutely gone.  It makes perfect sense after a little research.  Check out a search on back pain linked to milk or dairy.  Interesting how your body has a hard time breaking down the proteins in milk, and the body's immune system can go into over drive just trying to digest it.
I hope it's not a fluke, I started drinking almond milk today because I really wanted a bowl of cereal.  It's actually pretty good!  
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44 yr old lady- I have upper back/neck/shoulder pain. I've had it for 4+ years. It began when I was exercising, lifting weights.  I tried everything from Tens, drugs, stretches, heat/cold, chiro, shots, etc...you name it- the pain was so intense, I wanted to drive myself into a tree. None of this stuff worked. I ended up not using my upper body, avoiding things.  Computers are horrendous, as with repetitive movements. Muscle relaxers were too strong to function in life....advil didn't help. I resorted to heat most of the time, ( i'm talking 20 hrs a day...boy i love my microwave) and using ice at others...between not utilizing the muscles, heat, ice and being posture-congnizant ( use pillows alot!) I was able to get it to tolerable. I've gone to a new Physiatrist ( not psychiatrist, although i saw one of those too and it did nothing) who told me some very interesting things. 1st, he said that most people with this trouble are in too much pain to do the exercises needed to fix it. So he doesn't do that for a while. He is starting with getting my pain to be a 5 or less as the WORST pain number. Then, after that I will need to have 6-12 months of vigorous therapy, several times a day, every day for that long. He stated that people need to understand myofacial pain and where it comes from. There are pathways from the back ( not necessarily NERVE connections) that are ghost-like which cause pain in other areas...these are constructed when you're a fetus, but the nerves make no connections, really. Kinda like radiated pain, but not quite. Anyways, he showed me on the computer  problem areas which are to the left/right of my spine, around the armpit area, and pain sensation going down the arm, but lots around the wrist...and some that travels to the neck. this is exactly my pain profile...this scematic he showed me!!  I wish i knew what website it was...i'd tell you. Anyways, he is trying many different anti-inflammatories ( ones i haven't already tried) and muscle relaxers and heat and ice. Once the pain is under control, then many months of PT with the proper exercises several times a day. Inequities in muscles ( front chest muscles) vs back muscles and that rarely does anyone ever flex their muscles pushing their pecs out vs. the opposite of hunching/bending over. BACK MAGIC is another tool i use that is simple and cheap which arches your back and helps stretch out the muscles. Golfers use it alot and so did i...it helped a little. bed rest could be in store for someone who has this problem with their backs. Do you get good relief when you lie flat on your back, or maybe with your head kinda off the bed as to stretch your neck>? I tool 3 weeks vacation to do nothing. Key is you have to stop using those muscles and let them relax before you can do much of anything else.  if you want to know more, email me @ juls_of_the_nile***@****
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Same here. I've been riding horses since I was 13. I'm 29 now. I've had a lot of bad falls over the years. I have great posture, I eat healthy, and I'm in good shape. I also can't get any relief for the rhomboid muscle pain. The pain also radiates up towards the neck and it's not just a sore muscle pain, more of a burning sensation. I've also tried massage and relaxers. I can't take pain meds and I don't believe in chiropractors at all. (No offense). It seems like no matter what position I'm in it hurts.
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I am currently using prolo therepay for this right now. I'm about 10 weeks in with some improvement.  Has anyone tried IMS inter muscle stimulation with his injury. Its administered through physio therapists. I've had this too for 4 years and it has taken everything away in my life thats fun. Sports, weigh training , playing with kids.etc. There is a cure out there somewhere we just all need to keep posting everything thats working. Also someone posted a book by John Sarno. Has anyone read this or had results from it. Keep posting everyone. We're not alone.


Ryan
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Also has anyone ever had tennis elbow prior to having rhomboid pain? Reason asking is because I had tennis elbow surgery on my right elbow 5 years ago. Weird that its my left rhomboid that has all the pain and nothing on my right side. But this rhomboid pain started after I had my elbow surgery . Just wondering if theres any relation?

Ryan
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I suffer from most of the same symptoms as you folks.  I enjoy working out, and LOVE lifting weights, although 3-5 times a year, I'm am almost brought to tears, when the onset hits.  I'll open my eyes to a good morning, and go to stand up, then BAM!!!!  Guess who can't pivot to look more than 45 degrees right or left, or breathe deep?? That's right, this guy!!  I wouldn't say Physical therapists are a waste, I suppose you just have to find the right one.  I've had everything but an MRI done, and have terrible side affects from taking the "muscle relaxers."  Just so most folks know, muscle relaxers are just a type of sedative, and don't actually target the muscles.  They do affect certain neuroreceptors, however it occurs in your head.

Even as I type this, I'm going on week 3, where I have difficulty breathing, take 400mg of Ibuprofen, every 4-6hrs, use the heat, sleep on the floor, sometimes on a soft bed, to no avail.  It's been suggested I might have an inpingement, or a pinched nerve, but I don't get the tingling, or numbness a lot of folks get.  I just get intense pain and tightness in the left rhomboid, proximal to the trapezius.  I've done the stretches, and they only last for about 5minutes.  Eventually, I just wake up one morning, and the pain is gone.

This agony has even prompted me to go to college to become an Exercise Physiologist, because I want to try to find the root cause of this.  Some say rib subluxation, others say poor posture.  Unfortunately, the pain of the injury is what is causing my poor posture.


Anyway, I hope there's some sort of break through because at 30 years old, if I have to live another possible 40+yrs with this, I'll end up going crazy, before the pain goes away.
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I suffer from most of the same symptoms as you folks.  I enjoy working out, and LOVE lifting weights, although 3-5 times a year, I'm am almost brought to tears, when the onset hits.  I'll open my eyes to a good morning, and go to stand up, then BAM!!!!  Guess who can't pivot to look more than 45 degrees right or left, or breathe deep?? That's right, this guy!!  I wouldn't say Physical therapists are a waste, I suppose you just have to find the right one.  I've had everything but an MRI done, and have terrible side affects from taking the "muscle relaxers."  Just so most folks know, muscle relaxers are just a type of sedative, and don't actually target the muscles.  They do affect certain neuroreceptors, however it occurs in your head.

Even as I type this, I'm going on week 3, where I have difficulty breathing, take 400mg of Ibuprofen, every 4-6hrs, use the heat, sleep on the floor, sometimes on a soft bed, to no avail.  It's been suggested I might have an inpingement, or a pinched nerve, but I don't get the tingling, or numbness a lot of folks get.  I just get intense pain and tightness in the left rhomboid, proximal to the trapezius.  I've done the stretches, and they only last for about 5minutes.  Eventually, I just wake up one morning, and the pain is gone.

This agony has even prompted me to go to college to become an Exercise Physiologist, because I want to try to find the root cause of this.  Some say rib subluxation, others say poor posture.  Unfortunately, the pain of the injury is what is causing my poor posture.


Anyway, I hope there's some sort of break through because at 30 years old, if I have to live another possible 40+yrs with this, I'll end up going crazy, before the pain goes away.
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I fully agree with you AJ127. I'm currently working on my alignment and my pain is going away. All of my RSI pains are slowly going away and I'm able to work on a computer again.

Alignment has been the key to my problem and I believe most of our problems.
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It was so nice to see that I am not alone!!  I will try and get my scattered thoughts into a cohesive few paragraphs.....

Here goes:  I just read most of the comments on here dating back to 2008....As I did this, I have a burning pain in my rhomboid region, over to my left pec region, down my left arm to my thumb.  I have had this issue for 16 years now.  I am a 38 yr old man who played sports his whole childhood and through college.  I was a varsity athlete in 3 sports in high school, and played baseball in college.  I say this because I have been a shade of myself for so long now.  I remember walking out of the weight rtoom my senior yr in college and feeling a twinge in my left pec region.  This strange sensation was even more noticeable when I took a deep breath.  As a result of this injury I began to experience panic attacks for the next few years after walk out of the weight room.  I still have anxiety, but not the panic attacks and whenever any stress, good or bad hits, it goes right to my left trap/chest area,  
I had c5 c6 herniation revealed years ago and I decided to have surgery to clear the nerve...it wasn't a fusion...that seems to have helped the stabbing pain, but I still have horrible spasms and pain in the rhomboid/trap/chest wall region.  I have tried massage, physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractor, purchased a sealy posterpedic bed, trigger point injections.....the injections provide relief, but only temporary...
The biggest annoyance to me is the pec strain issue, which some Dr's have called it "Costrochondritis."  Has anyone done anything to releave the symptoms of this? They would be a burning type feeling just below the collar bone...also feels like a pressure in that area...It feels like it comes from the neck and filters down to the traps and chest.  I really have no idea..I do have a reverse curve in my neck, but I really have been on a 16 yr nightmare with this pec issue.  I have had every heart test, nothing wrong with my heart...it"s all muscle and nerve related...Any suggestions, advise would be more than welcome!  

In summation, I have a reverse curve in my neck, c5 c6 herniation which I did have a forenectomy on...not a fusion,,,,trap/rhomboid./pec muscle soreness, pain, knots and spasm
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I have had similar pain for the past 5-6 years. One thing that gives me temporary relief is stretching my rhomboids upside down.  I usually bend to touch my fingers to my toes and then keep stretching as far as I can behind my feet (I usually have to bend my knees to do this).  Wait about 10-20 seconds while stretching as far back as possible.  Then, very slowly w/ an arched back, I straighten up and bring my body back up to my regular posture.  When my shoulders roll back into place, I usually feel a few "cracks" where my rhomboid pain is (left shoulder).  This has helped me immensely over the past few years for instant relief.  

Other things that help:
- Getting someone to massage the exact point behind my scapula that hurts for a few minutes.... rubbing it HARD in a circular motion.  It hurts while the person is doing it, but I usually get a few days to a few weeks relief.
- The overhead pull bar at the gym really helps a lot to stretch my shoulder out.  Honestly, I always feel less pain overall after I exercise/do muscle training.
- Sleeping with the pillow under my shoulders, not my neck/head.  This causes me to sleep with my head lower than my shoulders.  If I can stay asleep the whole night like this (sleeping on my back), I pretty much wake up with no pain!  Sleeping on my side however causes my body to lock up and hurt more.

Try this website - its tips really help.  I've started doing the shoulder roll more with a lot of relief:
http://www.holistic-doc-pain-support.com/shoulder-blade.html

Good luck!
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A combination of Aspirin with Neurobion and Omerperazole will remove the pain permanently.  Take it twice daily once in the morning after breakfast  and next after supper  for 3-4  days. Also take Magnesium Citrate  400mg empty stomach early in the morning and Calcium Citrate 600mg in the evening for 10 days. Avoid very spicy and strong tea/ coffee during medication.
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My doctor prescribed Flexireel Patches (I think that's the correct name). Very expensive but worth it.  It numbs the pain wherever you put the patch. I have had rhomboid pain for several years. This helps wit the pain quite a bit. Not completely, but definitely an improvement. Let me know if you ever found anything else that helped. I would be interested to know.
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I know it's now 2011 but I too have had upper and lower back problems. I am in the Army, and am 45. had lower back surgery at 28 (1993) for a herniated L4/5, where disc was removed and vertebrae were fused. My xrays look hideous, but I went on to have another child, run a marathon and was deployed to Iraq as well. further neck disc problems diagnosed in 2010 showed herniation on C5/6, which is why all the symptoms of rhomboid and trapezius were being experienced, along with arm pain and occasional fingers going numb on RHS. The pain was shown to be from two main problems;
C5/6 disc bulging and a Bone Spur on the brachial  nerve with feeds the RHS arm via shoulder. The C5/6 pain was mainly in the upper rhomboid and shoulder arm pain was from the bone spur.
But put the two together and it was agony.
having read a very long list of posts on this subject, and been with back issues all my life (17 years in total now) I feel quite experienced in how to cope. I am genetically predisposed to have a weak set of spinal discs. But
it's firstly posture, then knowing your limits - let's face it we are only human,
Then it's weight control and doing the right exercises: basically a whole package of treatments, not just one simple cure all, wow wouldn't that be wonderful!
But the correct diagnosis is firstly important, so any bulging discs (in my opinion) should be taken out. my neck pain is reduced by 95% and rhomboid pain is now managed with massage, posture, weight control and exercise (tennis ball is awesome). No drugs for 6 months.
I now have to accept I don't have enough time to do what I want to, including all the household tasks I must, so I compromise. I rest by employing a cleaning lady....it firstly saves my back and then my sanity. When things get really bad, ice, ibuprofen, as well as a 50mg Diclofenic Sodium (Voltaren) and a good sleep ensues.
But this is only occasional for me now, as neck C5/6 was fused in Jan 2011. and that was elective, but as I too was in agony - totally necessary. I could not have continued living that way for much longer.
let's face it all our nerves centre from one point; our spine, and the branches of those nerves feed out through vertebrae. so it seems logical that if posture is bad, then this will impact upon pain in major muscle groups over time.
I am now up to seeing a PT to have specialized gentle Rhomboid exercises and working on improving posture and shoulder strength on RHS. this with getting diet and weight back under control ( need to loose 10 kg) will make things a lot better. trigger massage is also great and helped as is Pilates.
Hope life gets better for you, be patient, and kind to yourself.

I hope
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I agree on the magnesium.....whenever I miss a dose even for a couple of days, my rhomboids are knotted up again and tight.   I used a powder form as the magnesium pills did nothing - perhaps an absorption issue.  So far after chiros, PT, relaxents, yoga, etc....the magnesium is the only thing that helps.  
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For those who slump:
Slumping 14-18 hours a day, obsessively.....slumping shoulders over a computer keyboard, raising right arm and slumping shoulder to work a computer mouse, slumping over a road bike, slumping over a steering wheel, slumping with elbows on thighs while sitting to watch TV, slumping at the dinner table or working out by bench pressing or manual labor with forward arm pushing motion, etc.  All of these give very tight pecs...especially on your dominant side.  Then....sleeping on your side all night to compress and round the shoulders....further tightening the pecs.  Tightening pecs stretches the heck out of the rhomboid....especially the rhomboid minor.

Suggest relief by stretching pectoral muscle.....Sleep on your back with arms extended up and back in such a way to stretch the pectorals for hours and hours to compensate.  
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I've sufferred with this since the age of 17, initially from tennis. I'm now 40. Symptoms are as described here. Sometimes I can be without pain for a while then it comes back with a veangence - I will either have pain at source (that's where it will start), then it will seem to go but the neck will then be in spasm for weeks on end, also seems to cause a problem in the shoulder. Sometimes I can wake up in the night and the pain, at that point in time feels like I'm having heart trouble and hurts even more when I breathe in, until I fully wake up and realise it's the back muscles again.

I've had x-rays, scans, massages, been to the physio, sports massage, back to the GP periodically (about once every 3 years, what's the point in going? They aren't interested!), where I am told every time there is nothing wrong. In fact I've given up and am resigned to the fact I will live with this for the rest of my life.
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update...

i'm still improving as a result of fixing my alignment. NOTHING has helped me so much before. It's a daily commitment, but it's working.

DONT TAKE MEDICATION!

email me if you want more info. i'm no sales person. just a sufferer of this pain for way too long who wishes nobody this upon nobody.
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one word.

egoscue.0

look it up. you don't have to have this pain for the rest of your life.

BELIEVE ME!
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I have read all of the posts.  I am in the same boat as you folks.  Drs., Pt's, Massage, Pills, etc..... Last week I went to the gym and found this one machine that, when sitting at it you are facing a set of bars.  You reach out and pull them back, as if you were rowing a boat.  Before I actually pulled them back I just held onto them and let the weights stretch my rhombodieus muscles.  Immediately !!!!! my muscles said " awww thank you"  The rest of the day I felt great ! No headaches, no pain between shoulders, no neck pain, NO PAIN, no stiffness feeling either, I was me again and felt good that day and the next.  The third day my pain came back, so I went back and used that machine again.  And Again same results.  "awww thank you"  Felt great for two days,.  So about every two days I need to give my muscles a good hefty stretch in the rowing position.  Perhaps this can help you too !  GL
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Hello,
I am an LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) and I believe what a LOT of you may be experiencing is a problem with this ligament watch this YOU TUBE video.  Find a Therapist in your area that can work on this, it requires NMT knowledge (Neuro Muscular Therapy)  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPaYIz-VUyY
Good Luck and I hope you can get pain free.
Namaste
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I suffered with the exact same muscle knots and rhomboid pain for years. I found that this pain and muscle knots are only relived one way. You must stretch your pectoral's major and minor (chest). You must strengthen your entire core and chest. Your core consists of your abs, lats, traps, low back. What is happening and was happening to me is your muscle have become weak and your shoulders are most likely curving forward and appear rounded. this is pulling on rhomboid, traps and lats. The muscles of the back are having to do extra work to support your posture. A simple test is to stand in the mirror and pretend your are standing at military attention. If you have to force your shoulders into an upright position then you have the cause of your problem. You can also figure this out by having someone measure the distance in between your shoulder blades. The distance should be no more than 4 inches. When I first discovered this with my chiropractor (the 6th one) I had a 7 inch gap in between my shoulder blades. Since then I have began exercising daily mainly lifting weights and when I do cardio I move slowly (a fast walk). This is best for burning fat and support posture. Do make sure you also conciously maintain a good posture throughout the day everyday and within about 1-2 months your pain will be gone!!! :)
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Hi I'm in the same boat as you guys, I used to be heavy Into body biulding and I never imagined I'd feel this bad! I'm 24 my job requires that I bend and lift heavy boxes a couple thousand times a day and the schedule I work I don't get enough rest to recover.. Eventually from all the bending a rib came out of place and I began to knot up in my back around that area. so I went to the chiropractor a few times but because of work it kept popping back out. after a while I started knotting up so bad its like the muscles in my back were like rocks and now I'm starting to feel soreness in my abs and getting headaches from the tension in my neck.. I've used Advil, Tonic water and muscle relaxers with little relief, its almost like I'm turning to stone! I believe because of the tight spot in my back and exhausting myself from work I have begun to slouch alot without noticing it witch doesn't help I'm sure.. but this weekend I am going to a massage therapist and a good chiropractor for Xrays etc. I going at it full force with fingers crossed.. If I get anywhere I'll be sure to post it!
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I've had the same problem on and off for years and have tried many different things.    A massage therapist tried to "iron out" the spasm/lump one time.   It didn't help much.   A hot shower on the spasm would loosen the muscle and help some.    What finally helped me was to drink more water, and taking potassium supplements.

Potassium is a mineral the body uses in part to help muscles expand and relax.    If you are also dehydrated, your muscles will have a tendency to contract too.   Following these two tips should do wonders.  

It is entirely concievable that for 10 years you've been dehydrated and low on potassium.  When I work out, I perspire alot.  I also drink alot of diuretics (coffee).   Sweating and drinking diuretics eliminate potassium and water from the body.        Good Luck.   P.s.   I did a word search and noticed no one used the word potassium, so I hope this is the answer many people are looking for.  It worked for me big time.
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I had to check your post to make sure I hadn't written it at some point and time before. I have been suffering with the exact same symptoms, same area, even the lump across my back. The only difference is I have been going thru this for close to 30 years. Dibilitating constant daily pain, begging doctors to help me. I have gone thru 2 surgeries that did absolutely nothing for me. I started researching the internet and came up with lipomas, which is what I think mine may be. I don't know if you've even heard of that, but when I read what you said about the rope like bumps across your back I had to respond. I will be having another surgery right after Christmas to remove the lipomas or least know for sure what the lumps are if they are not lipomas. I'm scared, but I'm so ready to be out of this pain and I feel much more hopeful about this surgery. I hope you get some help soon. Good luck!
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First of all, all the people that tell you--
Oh, mind-over-matter, and all that, are clearly not having
this type of pain. I was flat on my back 10-20 hrs a day,
trying to get still enough for the spasms to stop.
Anyway, after over 17 years of this, i think it might be resolved
through cervical fusion c5-6 and finally, an ultra sound-guided
nerve block in my supra scapular nerve.
I had a nerve block prior to fusion that was
not worth the ordeal. So I don't know if it's the fusion,
the ultra sound- accuracy, or what, but I believe I have relief.
I'm going to the post office now bc I think i can actually navigate
the planet instead of hiding from pain in my bed.
Happy holidays!
There is a God!
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Move to Arizona. Just vacation there for two weeks. You will be amazed. No moisture, no pain.
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Ok here goes Debbie from Jersey .. Has already had neck surgery C5-6 and Rotatar cuff surgery and now .. My muscle trapezius hurts so bad .. I can not sleep and loss the use of both hands and arms go numb !!  .. Any thoughts from anyone ??
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Can you give us an update as to how your pain is now and waht has worked for you?
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I have had pain in upper back for three years now. It started when I was studied for an exam - sat on table but my head bent forward - did this for couple of months. The pain in almost incessant, although doesnt wake me up from sleep. The only thing I do - excercise (and ice packs sometimes).
I do a lot of stretches (but not much strenghening). the muscle effected is rhomboid. I started physical therapy 2 years ago but not much relief. I have continued to do those exercises and hope that one day i will be in less pain. I hav curtailed my social life severly and go out only for work.
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Sounds like you need to find an LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) that knows what she/he is doing. Someone with triggerpoint and mayofacial release experience. I am an LMT and I deal with this issue in my clients daily. Best of luck!
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Hi,

Sorry to hear about your unending quest to find a solution. If I may suggest, having had a similar issue that lasted a couple of years - I finally went to see a sports massage therapist. It worked wonders. Turned out it wasn't actually the rohmboid that was the issue. It was more pectorial (chest wall) and the muscles along my right side ribs. She hit a couple points that caused burning hot pain that went clear to my toes, but it did the trick. I think I went for a total of 4 one hour sessions (one per week). I must advise you though - it will hurt when they are doing it. Take a bit of ibuprofen or tylenol before and put Voltaren cream on after. You will bruise, but that heals. The pain is worth the try. Hope this helps. I know how awful it can be - it can be triggered simply by sitting at a desk too long or playing on a computer.

Best of luck!
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OVER DEVELOPED CHEST!!!!!
STOP STRETCHING YOUR BACK ENTIRELY
STRETCH YOUR CHEST INSTEAD.
START STRENGTHENING IT WITH WEIGHTS
I HAD THIS PROBLEM FOR 7 YEARS ON LEFT SIDE , DID EVERTHING PEOPLE DESCRIBED ABOVE. DIDNT WORK.
LAST YEAR MOVED TO RIGHT SIDE TOO AND I FLIPPED OUT. HAD TO TRY TO SLEEP UPRIGHT IN A CHAIR FOR MONTHS, PAIN WAS SO BAD LYING DOWN.  WAS ON EVERY PAIN KILLER, EVEN STARTED TO DRINK HEAVILY AND SMOKE WEED TO KNOCK ME OUT. READ ENDLESS ******** OVER ENDLESS SLEEPLESS NIGHTS ON INTERNET. SEEMS EVERYONE IS FOLLOWING EVERYONE ELSE.
EVENTUALLY GOT THE ANSWERS FROM THESE FORUMS BUT ONLY FROM NOT LISTENING TO THE MAJORITY AND GOING WITH THE ABOVE IDEAS SUGGESTED BY 2 OR 3 PEOPLE OUT OF A HUNDRED.
AS SCARY AS IT SOUNDS I STARTED TO DO BENT OVER ROWS SETS OF 2-4 , 20 REPS. AT THE SAME TIME I STOPPED ALL BACK STRETCHING, AND STARTED VIGOROUSLY STRETCHING MY CHEST.
IF YOU HAVE A ROUNDED BACK, OVER DEVELOPED OR EXTRA STRONG CHEST/WEAK BACK,  MY BELIEF IS STRETCHING OR MASSAGING YOUR BACK WILL MAKE THIS PROBLEM WORSE.
HOPE IM HELPING, IM NOT QUALIFIED IN AN HEALTH AREA JUST SO YOU KNOW. JUST GOT RID OF SEVEN YEARS OF HELL IN ABOUT 2 WEEKS. THIS WAS AROUND 6 MONTHS AGO NOW. I HAVE STARTED DOING ALL WEIGHTS AGAIN AND DO NOTICE VERY SMALL REMINDERS OF PAIN IF I WORK MY CHEST TO HARD AND MY BACK NOT ENOUGH.
IF I DO TWICE AS MUCH BACK EXERCISES AS CHEST AND NEVER DO POWER FOR CHEST (KEEP REPS HIGH) IM FINE.
HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE. THANKYOU FOR YOURS TO THE FEW THAT HELPED ME...you saved my live.
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man am  I  glad I found this web sight , I thought I ws the only one suffering from this dreadful pain  i ve been suffering from this pain close to 20 years ,  I tell other people, Dr s or who ever would listen but they don t get the pain we go through on a daily basis , i ve all types of treatments but nothing has helped , I ve stopped smoking stopped drinking i ve dropped weight but the pain still persist on a daily basis sometimes I get the spasm that go along with my pain and that really ***** , all i do is stretch by back all day hoping to get that 2 minute relief  , anyways  thanks for all the advice ,i guess the fight continues if anyone knows of other treatments or what has worked for them I would love to here it, @ this point  I ll try anyting   . Thanks again  
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I developed a similar problem after being rear ended. My entire upper back was in constant spasm. I could not lie down and headaches were intense. To make a long story short, I finally found an orthopedist who really understood spinal MRIs. He told me flat out I needed a cervical fusion (C4-C5) even though previous MDs had looked at the same MRI, either stating that the disc bulge was not responsible for my back pain or being equivocal about it. As soon as I woke up from the anesthesia, I could feel the back pain was gone. Don't give up. Find the right orthopedist or neurosurgeon.
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Hi there! You have it all right!
The rhomboids are continous with the serratus anterior muscles of the lateral chest wall. Tension in one of the mentioned muscles will surely create problems in the other.
The serratus itself lies on the chest wall under the huge pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor. The minor attaches to the scapula pulling it front and up while the rhomboids would pull the scapula back. The serratus would also pull the scapula front as in extending the arm to punch. Get the idea? Muscle groups working in opposite fashion. Get one of them overworked/extended/tensioned and the opposite guy would scream in pain sooner or later.
I too suffer from this condition. I can tell my pectoralis is too stiff, ditto the smaller coracobranchialis (also pulling the scapulla forward). Poor rhomboids are just gasping for air! Step one would then be to relax the front side of the body, then work on the back side relieving strain.
Just my 2 cents...
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I have been following this thread long before the post I made Jul 02, 2011.

Due to the dramatic improvement in my condition over the last few months, I thought I should report back here.

I did a fair bit of research on inflammation, and my understanding is that it is caused by a build up of acid in the blood. An acidic pH level of blood can be caused by a range of different things, such as stress and more commonly, the food we eat. Alcohol is also a big contributor.

One sign of acidic blood is a tendency to feel cold. I know that is certainly the case with me. Another sign of acidic blood in muscle inflammation at points of stress or exertion. Bacteria also thrives in acidity.

I have had a significant improvement in my rhomboid inflammation by cutting out the acidic foods, and alkalizing through a GREEN DRINK. A green drink is a powdered wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina. Tastes horrible, but when mixed with fruit juice is tolerable.

You want to avoid acidic foods like dairy, beef, chicken, fish, pork, peanuts, and drinks like coffee, tea, beer, spirits, orange juice, and substitute those for dried figs and green vegetables, as well as water, herbal tea, and your own freshly made vegetable juice from celery or other green vegetables.

I have done this and the improvement has been incredible. It had gotten to the point where I was contemplating on going on hardcore pain killer medication, but the change of diet and introduction of the green drink has worked wonders.

I'd highly recommend people go to the health food store and pick up some green drink. It will work wonders for you.

Try this website to determine how acidic or alkaline your diet is, and whether you need to make a change:

http://www.acidalkalinediet.com/Alkaline-Foods-Chart.htm
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http://www.amazon.com/Live-Pain-Without-Drugs-Surgery/dp/0983138311/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340467583&sr=1-1&keywords=lee+albert

This technique taught by Lee Albert in Massachusetts can help tons!  He teaches you to UNSTRETCH overstretched, overused muscles.  To let them relax.  It's the opposite of stretching.  It works for many many people (myself included).  Hope this helps =).
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I too suffered from severe rhomboid/upper back pain: knots between my spine and shoulder blades, headaches, etc.  For the longest time I would strectch my back thinking that was the problem. Long story short, I married a PT and she suggested stretching my chest instead. Place your arms at right angles fingers pointing up, like signaling a field goal. Put your forearms and hands on a door frame or on walls at an unobstructed corner of a room. Lean into your hands, allowing your chest muscles to strech out. It's very painful at first. After performing this stretch every night for a few weeks my pain went away....for good. No surgery, pillls, etc.... The root cause, as some have alluded to above, was overuse of my chest and overstretching of my back. In college where the problem started, I'd always work out my chest (beach muscles) and spent hours in front of a computer with my arms extended. This continued after college, big chest work outs and 10 hours a day at a computer. Now with nightly stretching and working out my back as much as my chest I'm pain free.
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I've been checking this thread for some time now. Just like the majority I have a rhomboid pain that robs me quality time in my life.  For 5 years now, what started as a pain that woke me up progressed to a 24/7 torture. I tried everything too from Chiro, PT, Massage Therapist, Pain Management Specialist, Rheumatoid Specialist, and all sort of specialist.  I even tried faith healer in desperation.  All sorts of ointment, oil, patch, penetrex, hot and cold compress, spray, breathing exercise, meditation, massage chair, pillows and a lot gadgets were bought and tried. Some would give a relief but nothing would last for a long time, only temporary relief. I've bought numerous self-help books of Gokhale, Tanner, Vijay Vad to name a few.

Only Vicodin helps. But i know it's side effect, it's habit- forming, behavior changing effect and havoc it does to the liver. I don't want to but it's the only one that helped.  We sufferer all know this lesser evil decision we have to take.

My last medical attempt is 3 sessions of Epidural Steroidal Injection. A quite popular procedure now. It was done with my pain management doctors suspicion that the trouble lies on cervical stenosis that showed on my MRI. He suspect it's pinching the nerve.  I'm kinda hesitant for rhomboid pain is not really a classic symptom of cervical anomaly. You can search the internet and would find a table with  c1- c8 problem with corresponding symptoms.  But like most sufferer, you would try anything for a relief. Sadly ESI procedure didn't help at all. Now I'm pushed to see a surgeon. I would not do it for I deduce that although there really is a cervical herniation, I don't think it's the culprit.  If it is, ESI should have taken care of it. Plus a lot of medical opinion states that surgery wouldn't really help if what you're experiencing  is only pain, no weakness, muscle atrophy or any other anomaly.

Here comes this unconventional therapy I got abroad.  It's not medical but a mix of oriental medicine with unexplained wonders. It did magic! I had it June 20 and instantly my pain is almost gone! I'm an engineer and had a training of being pessimistic. I need to find a reason for everything. There is a scientific explanation for everything and that's how I've been thought. But what I had is again, let me use the word- magic.

I still take vicodin, feel something strange on my body as a whole, maybe my it my system asking for vicodin. For 4 years or so, i know I can't withdraw it cold turkey. But for 2 weeks now I'm taking half the dosage. 10-325mg cut in half every 8 hrs or so.

If anyone is interested in trying or wants to know more of the treatment that I've got, I'm willing to share. Send me an email address and I could sent more details and pictures of my treatment.  I couldn't give no 100% assurance that what happen to me would work on you but this is not faith healing I assure you. He says he doesn't need you to believe to cure.  He just need 3 treatments at the most and you will be cured.

I am a chronic sufferer and I just want to help. My email address is ***@****.
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I've been doing body alignment exercises for over a year now and my body is getting even closer to feeling like new again. Read my previous posts. I had it really bad. Couldn't even hold my iPod for more than 10 seconds without feeling sharp pain up my arms/shoulders.

Buy this book and your pain will literally start going away. Not immediately, but your RSI didn't start immediately either. It took years to get this bad. So it's only right to understand it will take time to get better.

Pete Egoscue - Pain Free at your PC

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0553380524/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=bestportair0d-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0553380524&adid=0A435YFSNFDDPJSH4SF3

Email me: I'm living proof this thing works.
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A related discussion, SOLUTION!!!!  I found RELIEF after 13 years! was started.
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I came across this discussion thread a few days ago.  I normally don't like these types of boards since they seem to be pages and pages of problems but no solutions.  So I hope I can offer a solution for at least one person here who is suffering.   I have had recurring chronic pain in my right upper back rhomboid area and shoulder area for about 13 years.  Without going into all my personal history, suffice it to say that I have dealt with SEVERE pain.  The only "injury" I could ever relate it to, although it didn't start until years later, was a minor car accident where I had my hand on the horn and someone hit me from the front and my arm jammed up into my shoulder - "minor" but caused some strain at the time that honestly went away after a few months.  Years later, sitting at my desk, my rhomboid locks up.  I'm an accountant and tend to hunch over my keyboard and desk - good ergonomics but still occasional bad habits.  Sever pain that occasionally gets "better" - more tolerable - but never clears up.  After a big flare up and the worst pain I have had in years that flared up right after Christmas, I decided to get this resolved once and for all, whatever it takes.  I have been going to a new massage therapist for about 6 weeks who has been eager to work with me to resolve this problem.  Last night, BREAKTHROUGH.  Major breakthrough.  MAJOR.  After talking through changes I had over the last week, and starting in the Rhomboid area for a few minutes, she focused most of the time on the subscapularis. I have had LOTS of deep tissue, sports therapy type massage theraphy over the years, but when she found the deep spot in this muscle, I thought I was going to hit the ceiling. I breathed through it but it was intense.  The intensity of the feeling radiated down my arm into my wrist (where I have been having pain that I thought was due to another problem, but NO - it is related!!! http://healingconsciously.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html ).  After at-length work on this subscapularis muscle from different angles (I could tell it was difficult for her), she was finally able to get the point to release.  Then she started working on its connection point, where an entirely different intense feeling resulted, but finally also released.  She would move away and come back, but ultimately it released.  Afterward, when she rotated my arm to stretch it above my head, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD - it felt so good, and the range of motion was better than I have had in years.  I didn't even KNOW it was that bad.  This morning, I still have some tightness in the Rhomboid area, but the entire area feels "released" - that is the only way I know to explain it.  Some soreness from the treatment, but just loose and released and MOSTLY PAIN FREE.  I AM SO THRILLED.  My husband couldn't believe how giddy I was when I got home last night - he has seen me suffer with this - the incredible relief I felt was so overwhelming to me, I cried!   I immediately searched "subscapularis release" online when I got home - I found the link below -  VERY INTERESTING READ THAT LINKS RHOMBOID AREA PAIN TO THE SUBSCAPULARIS issues and IT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED as the culprit because of the intense pain in the Rhomboid area!  I hope it helps some of you.  I will continue this treatment over the next few weeks and repost if anything changes.  Good luck!    http://www.gcmt.org.uk/Portals/0/documents/Subscapular_Work.pdf
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Hello everyone!

I have had a similar issue for over two years now and I just found a SOLUTION.  I have not seen anyone mention cortisone shots but I just got three in my upper right rhomboid and felt immediate relief.  I have heard that this might be short lived if I do not continue to think about my upper right rhomboid region every day.... I plan to think about it though and fix it!  It might sound weird... 'thinking about it every day' but I believe it will be the only way to permanently solve the problem... at my desk where I sit from 8-5... when I am sitting at a nice dinner and want good posture (hopefully without it aching constantly)... when I am playing volleyball.  Hopefully I'll be able to run again soon.

My doctor could tell immediately that my right shoulder leans more forward compared to my left.  He was so awesome.... finally someone who listened to me and didn't try and sell my on pain meds or months of PT... he went straight to the problem and offered immediate relief.

After traveling to Europe for work, and carrying god knows how many bags, I laid down and felt a weird ache on my right side.  It has progressed and for over two years... now here I am.  It has been a constant ache, worsens with stress, and moves up to my skull causing headaches.  My 2013 resolution was to stop complaining about it and DO SOMETHING.  I had seen two doctors previous to this guy who did not listen... I finally found the right doctor!!!

I can keep you all posted on my status with the cortisone.  I had three shots injected last night and my muscles around the area are still sore, but I also feel great relief.  You must wait three days before you do any strenuous physical activity.  I think the cortisone shots coupled with physical therapy and possibly the use of a posture shirt AND ICE will be the key to keep the pain away.  

Cortisone shots in this region do not hurt all that bad... the doctor and nurse who was there (due to me being a little nervous about it) could see my muscles spasm-ing right away.  In two lower spots my muscle was so tight, the needle was slightly vibrating because the muscle did not want to let the needle in.  IF YOU HAVE NOT TRIED CORTISONE, DO IT!

I have been reading this for about a year now, waiting for solutions.  I hope I have provided a hopefully long(er) term solution for some of you out there.

Cheers to no more pain.

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Hi everyone! I have bee dealing with chronic Rhomboid Pain for 2 years now and I think I have FINALLY FOUND THE SOLUTIONS...which you need to try if everything else has FAILED, meaning these did NOT work ( rest, ice, PT, muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory medication, Cortisone injections, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, etc)

Here are the BEST/MOST EFFECTIVE Rhomboid therapies:

1) Buy a Saddle chair -  Especially if you sit all day at work on in school. You can find them on Amazon.com. It will help with your posture by bringing your shoulders & your neck back to take pressure off your rhomboid.

2) Sleep on your BACK-  with a piece of FOAM cut out to fit underneath  your UPPER BACK to support your Rhomboid. Then elevate your legs by putting pillows or a bolster under your knees. This position will allow your rhomboid to heal at night & will be the most comfortable position to rest in.

3) Find a Sports medicine Doctor- These are the ONLY types of doctors that MIGHT have seen a Rhomboid tear in their entire career, its very rare for even sports medicine doctors to have seen or treated it, So make sure you call around and see if you can find one who has treated a Rhomboid injury before, or just specializes in soft tissue & muscle injuries)

3) S3 POSTURAL BRACE-  Ask the sports medicine doctor to prescribe you a "S3 POSTURAL BRACE" this is brace that is made to help stabilize your Scapula so your Rhomboid can stabilize and heal. The reason Rhomboid injuries take forever to heal is because they are almost impossible to immobilize, but this brace is a total break through and will help tremendously.Google it to read more about it. You can just order them online as well, but they are around $400.

4) Neural Prolotherapy-  Find a sports medicine doctor who performs "neural Prolotherapy" and or "Prolotherapy". These are new injections that will eliminate pain & induce the injury to actually heal. google Neural Prolotherapy & traditional prolotherapy and read up about what the injections do exactly. They are NOT cortisone injections, which if you do have a real Rhomboid injury, cortisone injections wont work because there is barely any inflammation when it is injured because the Rhomboid muscle lacks blood supply.

5) Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections- If the Neural prolo injections did not work then the sports medicine doctor can do PRP injections. Google PRP and read up about it as well. PRP, along with Prolotherapy, is a break through therapy that professional athletes use all the time  and the results are amazing.

* Enjoy feeling better :)



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S3 posture brace!!!!! They are $350 but you can get a doctor to write a prescription for it :)
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C6 & c7 issues with pinched nerve. Lots of deep tissue work, chiropractic, and physical therapy. 6 weeks I'm better. Will need constant maintenance with stretching, water exercise, core strengthening for proper posture-yoga also seems to help. No more hunching over a computer for hours on end-EVER
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A related discussion, Wow. I'm NOT alone... was started.
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Very close to your heart. I have thought about botox. That is the only thing I am concerned with. It sounds perfect. Just FREEZE THAT MUSCLE! INCREDIBLE CONSTANT PAIN!  I purchased a TENS 3000. It works fairly well most of the time. I sometimes have first degree burns on my back and neck. The burns do not hurt as bad as the muscle tension. Flexeril or Tizanidine helps in 2 mg doses. Any more of a dose and it makes me sleepy. Best of luck!, Stuartthehairdresser21
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***@****
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I suffer from a similar issue here. Does anyone else have leg twitching and tingling? They also feel very uncomfortable like Restless leg syndrome. Where the tingling and twitching greatly worsens through any kind of exercise, stretching or basically anything that causes stimulus to the upper back?

Most of you guys doubtfully have a rhomboid tear. But most likely ligament laxity in an underlying rib beneath the rhomboids. Ice, Ibuprofen and cortizone should be avoided like the plague. As they all hinder and halt inflammation and blood flow which is what heals injuries.

The only way to heal lax ligaments is prolotherapy. Although even that now a days is weakened by laws and regulations. It seems now prolotherapists will cap you off at 4x less solution then what you actually would need. I hate this planet.

@kmc1444

2) Sleep on your BACK-  with a piece of FOAM cut out to fit underneath  your UPPER BACK to support your Rhomboid. Then elevate your legs by putting pillows or a bolster under your knees. This position will allow your rhomboid to heal at night & will be the most comfortable position to rest in.

Ive found this most effective way to sleep but never thought of putting the foam under the upper back. What type of foam/size/thickness?

3) S3 POSTURAL BRACE-  Ask the sports medicine doctor to prescribe you a "S3 POSTURAL BRACE" this is brace that is made to help stabilize your Scapula so your Rhomboid can stabilize and heal. The reason Rhomboid injuries take forever to heal is because they are almost impossible to immobilize, but this brace is a total break through and will help tremendously.Google it to read more about it. You can just order them online as well, but they are around $400.

If a doctor prescribes this, do you not still have to pay for it like any other prescription?
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Hi, I posted about a year ago that cortizone shots worked... they don't in the long term.  I was super excited but WRONG.

I ended up going to PT, with a great therapist, who used this technique 'joint therapy' i think it what its called.  If a chiro adjustment is a 5 then this joint therapy is a 3.  The PT pushes down on your back which isn't comfortable, but it definitely reduced inflammation and made my right side more mobile.

Also, Rapid Release Therapy (RRT) is amazing, it reduces scar tissue that builds up from staining the rhomboid.  

After seeing this PT for about 9 months, once a week at least, I definitely improved.  He recommended exercises to strengthen my shoulder as well.

However, now my insurance changed, and its a little more expensive to go.  Its been several months, and im starting to have pain again after trying to work out hard 4 times a week.  I think you just have to keep at strengthening the right muscles to protect your rhomboid.  I have a volleyball tournament on Sunday that I'm going to have to medicate myself for :-(

I wish there was a surgery for this issue.
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Hi
I am 37 years old and have experienced the same symptoms as you.  I have a giant knot o my left rhomboid and costochondritis.  Have you tried yoga?  I swear by it.  You will most likely benefit from talking with a counselor and may find that some of your symptoms are stress-related.  Your doctor must believe you have fibromyalgia and gave you Cymbalta for that reason.  Conventional medicine failed me because I have a problem that doctors can't really treat.  Try practicing a wonderful thinking method called  "mindfulness ".  You are just staying present in the moment while doing your everyday activities such as eating and taking  your time while doing it.  You savor every bite and chew slowly. It is a great way to manage pain.
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Over 15 years with this.
Someone jumped on my back while I was lifting.
Then years of guitar playing and mouse work.
Five years ago it came on with a tennis injury followed by a year of backpacking.
And all through I have used the same right shoulder to carry every rucksack, laptop etc etc etc
Now 18 months of baby lifting.
Oh and cheese, red meat red wine - and a lot of it!

My right rhomb/trap has now gone crazy and the pain has started to spread. I have had good sports massage and stretching advice. But after reading this incredible post I take away:
- Pec stretching
- Pilates
- Acupuncture
- Dairy
... I am determined to start the first three as soon as possible but giving up the dairy and red wine I just cannot face. I've got some Lebanese red and gorgonzola on the go right now to take my mind off the spasms;)

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WOW- I have had a work injury October 2012 and slipped as an RN on the job. I have had so many people tell me I would get better right away. Depressed, I went back and tried to work for six months in a non- driving- more managerial position. It got worse and ended in more chronic pain, working with workman compensation and them not paying my practitioners, and Dr's saying- no medical way of diagnosing. ?? Now out since September.

I read about ultrasound and want to connect on that and ask if anyone used this method and if it showed anything medically.

My mind does not work well with this pain at times. I really feel frustrated working in the system and share in many of you and your thoughts. .

I also want to use solutions listed. I felt so isolated and now I have a community to walk with- and this is a relief. The pain is so bad. I am not working.  I thank you all for posting and will follow all the leads- yes- it is so difficult. I do feel sane reading about all these posts.

Thanks-
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I have been having a lot of extreme pain in my shoulder blade as well which radiates also.  When it gets in a tight spasm I can't wash dishes or stir anything because it aggravates the area and makes the pain and spasm worsen.  I saw doctors for 3 years and got nowhere, just got pain pills with anti-inflammatory med., and use ice bags. It gives relief for a little while and then comes back.  I have a tens unit I use on the rhomboid muscles and it helps better.  My doctor finally sent me to a osteopathic doctor and when I told him what my symptoms were he immediately checked around my rhomboids and my ribs.  He discovered that I had a rib out of place and the rhomboid muscles were in a locked spasm as a reaction to trying to hold the rib in the position it had slipped to. He put my rib back in place and gave me shots in the rhomboid muscles to help release the locked spasm. The rib had been out of place for 2 years and nobody had caught it till I saw him, so the rhomboid muscles were stretched out further than they should have been holding the rib in the new position it had slipped into.  I felt relief very quickly after he put the rib back in place, it made a big difference.  Maybe you should see if you have a rib out of place too.  Worth checking out.
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wow this is really depressing to read. I've been having pain in my rhomboid and lat for almost a year now. I'm only 23 and I've given up on all the activities I've enjoyed. I feel my youth slipping away and I'm starting to feel hopeless. A life of pain is not one I want to live.

Prior to all this pain I had lost a lot of weight, began a fairly physical job (but no overly strenuous) lifted weights regularly and intensely as well as taking long walks with my dog. I had aspired to be doing physique competitions by as well as pursing a career in personal training (which I have a certification for).

Know, I have given all of that up. I don't workout because of the pain, I don't work because of the pain, I can't even walk a slow mile without a lot of discomfort. I'm about out of money and out of hope. My days are spent in bed or on the couch. I've gained most of the weight back and lost all the muscle I had gained.

After about a month of being in pain and resting I went to see a orthopedic, who brushed it off as a pulled muscle. After more rest I tried going back to the gym, but was still in a lot of pain.

Next I saw a chiropractor and didn't do anything for about 5 weeks. The adjustments seemed to help temporarily. At my first visit he said the first five ribs on the left were out of place (the side my pain was on).

Next I saw another chiro who focused on doing active release therapy and gave me some physical therapy type exercises to do at home. This also gave me some temporary relief.

From about October To mid December of 2013 Is the most active I've been in a year. I was able to lift weights and do cardio. I still had some pain and had to be careful about what exercises I did, but I thought in time it would work itself out.

Then about mid December the pain flared back up, and hasn't had much relief since. I went back to the original chiro, who once again, said my ribs were out of place. This seemed to be consistent with the type of pain I was having.

I did research about slipped ribs, and learned that chronic slipped ribs will damage the tendon that holds them in place. This led me to investigating prolotherapy, which will help heal the tendons.

My first stop for this was a pain management clinic, who at first prescribed muscle relaxers and physical therapy, neither or witch helped. After a second visit she wanted to give me a cortisone injection, which I declined. A dead end.

After doing more research, I found a doctor who specializes in prolotherapy and is actively doing research in the field. I have had to treatments and it hasn't provided me much relief.

Right now I'm at a total loss, I'm fat and out of shape. I've started doing some light weight and residence band exercises at home as well as walking. All of this still causes pain.

This whole experience has left me in shock and disbelief at the state of our current health care and our knowledge in treating pain. Most of it seems to be a money grab backed by little to no science. Most of the Doctors I have seen have been overconfident in their abilities and unable to deliver anything other than some voodoo treatment, and I'm talking about mainstream medicine as well as homeopathic.  

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I've had rhomboid pain for 34 years.  It has driven me to absolute madness.  The madness stopped when I got something called a Theracane.  You can get them on Amazon.  You use it to dig into the exact spot where the pain is originating from.  The next day the pain is gone.  It has saved my life.
  
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