Do you have burning in your back between your shoulder blade and spine?  That area has a muscle called the rhomboid.

It gets blamed for pain all the time but it is usually NOT the muscle at fault!  Poor rhomboid.

Rhomboid area pain is typically caused by that area being over-stretched.  The burning is a symptom.  You have to figure out the cause and get rid of it.

Your neck could be involved if the scalene muscles on the side of your neck are causing you to have a ‘knot’ in your back.  The scalene muscles in your neck can have trigger points that cause burning in the rhomboid area or knots in your back but the burning can also be caused by simple mechanical over-stretch.

If you strengthen the muscles in the back of your neck, back and thighs and stretch and lengthen the muscles in the front of your body from knees to chin, you will be working to re-balance your body.  This is good!

Since there is an excellent chance that the muscles in the front of your body are too strong and tight and short already, they don‘t need strengthening.  They need lengthening.

There are ways to sit more comfortably at the computer so you don’t over-stretch your rhomboid area.

Using a mouse?  Try this:

1.  Switch hands.  It really can be done.  🙂
2.  Bring your elbow closer to your waist when you work–no stretching.  Stretching aggravates muscle in the rhomboid area–it gets overstretched and complains.
3.  No slouching.  A strong back will help prevent slouching.
4.  Using a laptop?  Get a separate monitor or keyboard so you can work more ergonomically.

A foam roller or roll made of a long towel or piece of carpet is excellent for laying on to allow you to stretch and lengthen the muscles in the front of your chest and arm.  If it’s narrow enough for you to lay on long-ways (with the full length of your spine and head on it) you can also use it as a tool to squeeze your shoulder blades against.  That will help strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blade and spine.  Then those muscles can better hold their own against being over-stretched.

If you need more self-help ideas and ways to treat the knots in your back,<– click here.

Taking these actions can help to get rid of this nasty ache in your rhomboid.


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17 Comments on How To Get Rid Of Muscle Pain In Rhomboid

  1. Rayleen says:

    I have a pain on my side right under my rib cage and i get a really bad pain when ever I breathe in and its constintly doing this for about 3 days no 🙁 any suggestions please ??

  2. Hi Rayleen,

    Thank you for writing. There is a rather wide muscle that crosses the body called the diaphragm. It is a breathing muscle and it causes hiccups when it contracts. Maybe it is that muscle or other muscles that are in the area. But that is also the area of your liver and gallbladder. It’s also possible that the tissue around your lung is irritated.

    Just in case this could be a medical issue you should have a doctor check it. If he finds nothing, that’s great because then it most likely will end up being muscle-related. Sorry I wasn’t more help with this pain on your right side under your ribs.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  3. Rayleen says:

    Thank you for your help, its really a helpful website.

  4. Thank you, Rayleen. It is my pleasure to be able to help and I appreciate your kindness.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  5. mithilesh says:

    Hiii gud day i m mithilesh 29 yrs 72 kg 172 cm ht . I have muscle pain in my chest as well as in my upper back also . I did ECG & X Ray but everything is normal . i feel the pain in my bones . i started exercise in the morning but 1 – 2 days the pain increased i stopped exrcise . Kinldy advise me the cause & treatment

    Thnks & best regds

  6. Hi Mithilesh,

    Thank you for writing. When your tests come back normal that is a good thing. That almost always means that the pain is caused by muscles. Muscles are the most common cause of pain.

    Exercise can also cause muscle pain. When you start a movement program or exercise program, start very slowly so you muscles can get used to it. Otherwise your muscles get overworked and will complain. Over several days you can start to add a little more movement. Eventually you will be on a full exercise program without pain.

    There are muscles in your chest. The good news about that is we can massage our own rib and chest muscles! 🙂 Start pressing into the areas of muscle that you can reach. Press with your hands or flat fingers. If they are tender, that means they need some pressure or massage. Hold a tender area for about 12 seconds.

    Chest muscles get short and tight just because of the way we live and work. And short chest muscles are often the cause of back pain. Chest muscles and muscles in the fronts of arms can also benefit from stretching.

    Sometimes pain feels like it is in bones but that is because muscles cross over joints and pull on bones.

    I hope this will help you get rid of the pain in your chest and upper back.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  7. Nicole says:

    Hi Kathryn,

    I’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome months ago (after I had my daughter) and was told it would go away on its own. It has not. The tingling isn’t just in my hands\arms but also in my shoulder blades/spine area. My symptoms don’t present 100% as carpal tunnel however, as the tingling in my hands is mostly the last two fingers of my hand (including the pinky) then goes up the outside of my forearm, back of my upper arm and then continues with discomfort in my shoulder blades and spine.
    Do you think this is carpel tunnel? Is it likely caused by weak muscles in my back/shoulder?
    Any suggestions would be great!
    Thank you!

  8. Hello Nicole,

    New moms spend lots of time holding their new babies. They look down at them. They cradle them. They feed them. And their poor backs round forward while the muscles in their arms, chest and the front of their neck shorten.

    I believe you are on the right track: The muscles in your back have become weakened and strained and are causing your symptoms. But the good news is that you can change this. 🙂

    By your description, I am thinking that your shoulders are rolled forward. That means your chest muscles are shortened. Tight chest muscles strain weak back muscles.

    The muscle that would cause your symptoms is the latissimus dorsi. If you can get someone to massage or pinch this muscle it will help it relax. The pinch should grab the muscle (not just skin) and it will be uncomfortable. This muscle can be grabbed on the outer side of your back next to your shoulder blade.

    So it doesn’t seem like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but rather like your symptoms are caused by a trigger point in the lat muscle.

    1. Massage or pinch the lat. Or see a professional massage therapist and ask him or her to do this.

    2. Stretch the muscles in the front of your chest and arms and probably neck, too. A skilled massage therapist can help with this, too. There is a whole category about massage at

    3. Strengthen your back muscles. There are articles with easy ways to do this at

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may have been an accurate diagnosis when you were pregnant due to the extra fluid retention in your body. Or maybe the diagnosis at that time was not correct. Perhaps it was your rounded shoulders even then. You can find more about hand and arm pain and CTS at which is another of my natural pain relief websites.

    Thank you for writing, Nicole. Enjoy your new daughter and I hope this will help you quickly get rid of the tingling in your last two fingers, arm and upper back.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  9. ashley p says:

    Hi i’m 25 years old with autoimmune thyroid disease. My muscles in my shoulders and between my shoulder blades began to burn, ache, and get knots around the diagnosis,two years ago. First i was told it would go away with proper thyroid treatment, then told it was fibromyalgia(bc my mother has that). But fibro makes your whole body hurt, but my main area of pain is where i described. I stopped exercising because i’d strain my back from very minor workout. My mom also has spinal problems, and my brother has ankylosing spongulitis. I guess my question is, are my back problems simply muscular? Or could i have a bone problem in that area and it’s affecting my muscles? No insurance, but could an xray pick up a spinal issue? Oh, i read your flat feet article, and will get feet arch supports pronto!

  10. Hi Ashley,

    Thyroid problems can cause muscle problems but that would be all over the body. There may be a tie-in with your shoulder pain and diagnosis. Did you have a car accident or whiplash injury around that time? That can affect the thyroid gland. And some thyroid medication works better than others. If you can afford to buy a supplement to support your thyroid gland it is called Iodorol. You can look into it online if you are interested.

    Fibromyalgia is misdiagnosed frequently. You are correct: It is a whole body pain syndrome. And correcting posture, getting active gradually, improving diet and nutrition can all help with fibromyalgia.

    X-rays don’t see much of the soft tissue. An x-ray may tell you that your bones are bent forward but that would be because of posture and muscles because muscles move bones.

    Posture really plays a huge role in upper back pain. I’m glad you are getting the arch supports.

    Lie flat on your back and gently stretch the muscles in your arms and chest by stretching your arms to the sides and overhead–kind of like a butterfly. If no notice lots of tight-feeling muscles just hold those areas for several seconds and then go gently back to neutral.

    Working out may annoy your already aggravated muscles but if you do shoulder rolls (up and back, up and back) while standing as straight as you can that can help relax your shoulder muscles. Also squeezing your shoulder blades (thoughtfully, gently) to your spine is an easy way to strengthen your upper back. Try to have your head over your body rather than sticking out in front.

    Thank you for writing. I hope these ideas help. There are articles at that you can look through which have more directions about how to strengthen your back and improve your posture to get rid of upper back pain naturally.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  11. Simple Mechanical Back Pain says:

    […] How To Get Rid Of Muscle Pain In Rhomboid | Simple Back … – Do you have burning in your back between your shoulder blade and spine? That area has a muscle called the rhomboid. It gets blamed for pain all the time but… […]

  12. Angela says:

    I have a terrible impingement in my scapular and rhomboid muscle. It goes up my neck and have tingling in my three fingers. I am starting PT and had litacaine injections today. Any suggestions? I’m very active. I lift weights and run and row. 5’3″ 112lbs

  13. Hi Angela, I’m sorry to hear about your pain because I think pain stinks! But I’m suspecting your pain may be actually starting in your neck. The nerves that serve your shoulder are in your neck and upper spine. Muscles or bones can press on nerves and cause pain in the rhomboid and scapular areas and into your hand and fingers. Nerves don’t like to be pressed on.

    Additionally, trigger points in the scalene muscles in the neck can cause pain on the upper chest area and right into the place on your back that I think you are indicating. So what causes trigger points? It could be forward head posture or sleeping on your side with your head tilted to one side or the other. It could also have been caused by hunching your shoulders upward when you lift. At this moment, I’m suspecting that may be the primary cause. If you hunch your shoulders, you are activating the scalenes and could be causing them to shorten and become tight and/or develop trigger points. Is it possible that you are hunching or otherwise straining your neck muscles when you lift? Ask the physical therapist to monitor your lifting movements. You may have to lighten your weights.

    The poor rhomboid gets blamed when there is pain in the area but, most often, something else is the cause of that pain. I hope this long-distance assessment helps you get rid of the pain in your rhomboid and scapula area. Thank you for writing and feel better soon!

    The Pain Relief Coach

  14. Angela says:

    Thank you very much. This is a wonderful service you provide

  15. Thank you very much, Angela. You are very welcome!

    The Pain Relief Coach

  16. lizanne says:

    So what “lengthening” stretches/exercises would you recommend? You didn’t address that part…

  17. Hi Lizanne, The lengthening stretches can be done over the roll or noodle mentioned at the end of the article. Gravity will help stretch the muscles in front and, if you squeeze your shoulder blades toward your spine, the muscles in back will be strengthened.

    How to Lengthen or stretch the muscles in the front of the body: This can be done in a doorway (watch the position of your head and neck, so they are not sliding forward) or on a bed. Lay on your back on the bed or exercise table and let your leg or arm thoughtfully drop off the table or bed until you feel a nice stretch in your chest, arm, thigh or abdomen. You can also lift your leg backward (behind you) to stretch the front of the thigh and abdomen.

    The way to lengthen the muscles in the front of your neck is by lifting your chin. Place your head over your body and lift your chin toward the ceiling. I hope this helps.

    Thank you for asking.

    The Pain Relief Coach