Shown above is the pain pattern for the Rhomboid. Pain is referred from the inside edge of the shoulder blade toward the top of the shoulder blade.

Activities Which Aggravate the Pain
Writing, reading and sewing with the back unsupported and the shoulders rounded forward, sitting on the floor and playing with children.

Positions that Aggravate Pain from this Muscle
Sitting with the back unsupported and the shoulders rounded forward. This figure shows where the muscle is located in the body and how it is attached to the bones of the body.

Anatomy Facts - Rhomboid


Muscle Action
The downward rotation and adduction of the scapula.

Muscle Origin
The Rhomboid Minor arises from the nuchae ligament and the spinous processes of the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic vertebrae. The Rhomboid Major arises from the spinous processes of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th thoracic vertebrae.

Muscle Insertion
Both muscles insert along a tendinous arch on the scapula, from root of the spine to the inferior angle.

Muscle Innervation
Dorsal scapular nerve.

Trigger Point Locations - Rhomboid


You can find your own trigger points by using your thumb or finger to press on the spots shown in the picture. They are not difficult to find. Or you can ask a friend or family member to help you. Press firmly in a step-by-step manner until you find the exact spot that is tender. That is the trigger point.

By pressing firmly on the trigger point, and holding that pressure for several seconds, you will discover the pain lessens dramatically. In fact there are devices that can help you do this. We recommend a device called a "TheraCane" that can be purchased at many stores such as Sammons Preston Medical Equipment that has a mail order catalogue that can be contacted at 1 800 323-5547. The TheraCane is their item # 5244. The TheraCane can use be purchased at many local pharmacies.

Unfortunately this technique, known as acupressure, or shiatsu, provides only temporary relief. Some physicians inject drugs like Novocaine into trigger points, but these offer only temporary relief as well, and can cause scar tissue in the muscle.

Isometric Contraction Testing - Rhomboid


A painful muscle will become more painful if it is forcefully contracted (flexed). Use this picture to test this for yourself with the assistance of a friend or family member.

Follow these Directions
Sit in an armless chair with the painful side forearm against the small of your back, palm out, while your assistant places on one hand on your painful-side shoulder and the other hand along your spine. Attempt to squeeze your shoulder blades together, while your assistant prevents you from doing so.