Rhomboid Strain

Located in the upper back, the rhomboid muscles connect the spine to the inner edges of the shoulder blades. A rhomboid strain occurs when these muscles stretch or tear, typically as a result of overuse of the shoulder and arm during overhead activities (e.g., serving a tennis ball or reaching objects on a high shelf), rowing, carrying a heavy backpack, or using poor posture (especially while sitting in front of a computer). Rhomboid strains are characterized by pain in the upper back in between the spine and the shoulder blade (scapula). Diagnosis of this issue typically involves a physical examination and analysis of a patient’s history, symptoms, and daily activities. Treatment of rhomboid strains may involve rest (i.e., abstaining from activities that cause pain until the injury has healed), application of ice to reduce swelling, administration of anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy to restore muscle strength and flexibility. Recovery time will vary depending on the severity of the strain. Mild rhomboid strains may heal within a few weeks, with severe injuries taking six weeks or more. To prevent rhomboid strains from occurring, it is important to engage in proper warm-up and stretching exercises prior to exercise, take breaks from long periods of sitting, and follow all safety rules recommended for both work and sports.