These muscles are important for posture and upper limb stability. They may be part of Upper Crossed Syndrome, poor posture, and cervicogenic headaches.
What They Do
They help you turn your head and take deep breaths.
Why They Hurt
- You might have a knot or spasm
- You might be underusing them
- There may be joint dysfunction (restriction in spine)
If you have a problem with your rhomboids, you may also experience:
- Shoulder pain, due to
- Trigger points - see diagram below
The trigger points (the ‘X’ icons) can cause pain in the colored areas.
What to Do (Treatments)
Depending on which of the above causes you may have, you can:
- Stretch (see below)
- Have your knots treated
- Weight-bearing exercise (see below)
- Have your upper back, ribs, clavicles adjusted (as applies to you)
How to: Exercise
- Lie with abdomen on an exercise ball, keeping feet pointed down and legs straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Beginner Alternative: Maintain a similar spine position with abdomen/chest on the exercise ball with knees on the ground, and begin without dumbbell weights.
- Lift chest off the ball, keeping back and neck in proper alignment. Extend arms in front of body. Squeeze glutes and lift arms, keeping thumbs up and pinching shoulder blades back and down (“Y”)
- Move arms straight out to side with thumbs up (“T”)
- Move arms to the side of the body with thumbs up, bring shoulder blades down toward your feet and together (“A”)
How to: Stretch
- Stretch your arms out in front of your body. Clasp one hand on top of your other hand.
- Gently reach out so that you feel your shoulder blades stretching away from each other.
- Gently bend your head forward.
- Hold for 7 to 15 seconds.
- Repeat 2 to 4 times.