My Rhomboids Really Hurt!

By Ashley Jones & Ross Ashcraft

Rhomboids create those ugly knots in my scapula. The Rhomboids are a major source of upper back pain. They will cause problems for a wide range of people:  hairdressers, servers, CPA’s, teachers, administrators, and students.  Located between the shoulder blade and spine, the rhomboids are not easily discernible except along the medial border of the scapula.

There are numerous ways treat these sometimes unbearable and mostly annoying knots.  They commonly develop from day to day routines like long hours at a computer, or sometimes just sleeping wrong.

Technique # 1: 

The first and most effective way is a stretch.  1) The client lies prone or face down. 2) The therapist stands to the side of the client. 3) Place their thumbs or base of their palm at the medial border of the scapula. 4) Push and lift the client’s scapula away from the spine.  5) While constantly checking in with clinet, hold from 30 seconds.

Technique # 2: 

1.) Have the client sit in a chair.  2) Palpate the area around the scapula searching for a knot. 3)  Place one hand on their shoulder 4)  Place your other hand with thumb pressure on the knot.  5) Hold until you feel change.  6) Then have your client rotate there arm while still applying pressure, forward and then back. 7) Finish with effleurage and petrissage while assessing the area for change.  Always check out the muscles near a tender area for others significant discomfort.


Your client will need homework that they can actually take home.  Give them a series of stretches.


1) Get in the middle of a door way and hold on to each side of the door frame and slowly lean out until you feel your arms fully extended hold for 30 seconds.

2) Reach your hand behind your head as shown and push your elbow down over your head while your fingers try to touch the middle of your back.

3) Send them home with a tennis ball.  Using the wall, apply as much pressure as you can withstand and slowly roll the tennis ball up and down the knot until you feel change.

4) Don’t forget to have the “importance of water” talk.

Please, try these three Homework examples and tell us what you think.  Or try these two techniques on friend and let us know what they thought.  We love feedback!



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