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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.
171 Responses
Avatar universal

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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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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