Rhomboid Pain (Shoulder Blade Discomfort)

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Your scapular/rhomboid pain is probably NOT your rhomboids! Watch the video to learn why!

Intro (0:00)

Rhomboid Pain (0:15)

Do you experience a deep, dull aching pain along the medial border of your scapula, or that area between your shoulder blade and spine? Have you tried stretching or rolling this area with a lacrosse ball or foam roller only to get temporary relief? Considering the location of the rhomboids, many individuals are led to believe that their discomfort originates from a strain or trigger point associated with these muscles. However, the rhomboids are rarely the culprit so in order to find a long-term solution, we should take a step back and consider a more holistic approach.

It’s Not Your Rhomboids (0:45)

So if it’s not your rhomboids, what is it and why are you experiencing discomfort in this area?

A landmark study by Dr. Ralph Cloward in 1959 applied stimuli to different aspects of the cervical intervertebral discs on conscious patients and had them report where they experienced discomfort. As you can see from the images, a common location for pain was in this interscapular area.

Other studies have replicated this finding as it relates to the discs such as Slipman et al in 2005.
And Dwyer et al 1976 is well known for stimulating the zygapophyseal joints in asymptomatic subjects and mapping their reported pain.

The last consideration, and the focal point of this video, relates to irritation of the lower cervical nerves. You might generally associate this irritation with neck pain and pain down the arm in a nice dermatomal distribution, but Murphy et al 2009 found that occurs in less than ⅔ of cases and around 50% of people report pain in that rhomboid area. In fact, Tanaka et al. 2006 reported “scapular region pain is generally the initial symptom in radiculopathy and can persist alone before the arm or finger symptoms develop.” And in some cases, it might be the only symptom that ever really occurs.

So although you might be experiencing discomfort in the rhomboids, that sensation is likely more of a secondary response.

Also, I understand that issues with the neck or a nerve sound scary to a lot of individuals, but it doesn’t mean anything is damaged, pinched, etc. I just like to think of it as something being sensitive.

Lifestyle Modifications (2:17)

Exercises (4:35)

Outro (6:41)

Disclaimer: The information presented is not intended as medical advice or to be a substitute for medical counseling but intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are experiencing pain, please seek the appropriate healthcare professional.


E3 Rehab says:

Thank you so much for watching! Check out the blog here: https://e3rehab.com/blog/rhomboidpain

Kainoa Thomas says:

I have only been having pain on the right side mid upper back. Just as this video said. The flaw though is it happens a few hours after I fall asleep. And I wake up in pain from it. I don’t know what it causing. Because I don’t feel at all throughout the day.

Patryk Sekula says:

I got a question when u take a deep breath does it start to hurt because idk if it's because of this reason or something else???

Carolyn Kettler says:

Thanks so much for the video! Very helpful. Question:: Are there any exercises you would suggest be avoided if feeling this pain? I jumped back into strength exercise last week & felt it really aggravated it

Partha Pratim Das says:

Hey, thank you. This worked. I'm pain free today. Will keep following your advice on prevention.

Ankita Shirdkar says:

I hear grinding sound from my upperbackbone when i move left n right
Please help

mvdk says:

Thank you so much!

Ghidi Mark says:

Is this pain felt on the chest ?

Muhammad Umar says:

Mine is not a pain but a very itchy type discomfort

Austin Harper says:

Your voice is so similar to Scott disick. It’s uncanny

Patrick Johnson says:

I have chest pains, shortness of breath when ever I smoke. I experienced the back pain once

Faceplate says:

awesome video, i will be trying out the recommended stretches/exercises

Scott Howard says:

Hi, I've been doing these exercises everyday for about a week now just once a day 10 reps for each is all I have time for in the week and twice a day on the weekend. At what stage would you recommend progressing to the intermediate stage of exercises?. Also I noticed the young lady in the video demonstrates the thoracic rotation exercise laying down sweeps the arm across close to her body rather than keeping the elevated arm straight whilst rotating yet in the progressing exercise kneeling against the wall her arm is kept straight as she rotates. Is she just using sloppy form in the first stage or is that how it's done? Note I am copying her form whether it's right or wrong.. thanks

Ricky N says:

Really helpful – thanks.

Nahin Munkar Arham says:

Idk how yt figured out my blade pain before 2 days of it.

Kevin Lewellyn says:

I found this video informing. I will attempt these as well.
I have Spinal Stenosis from 4-7, and need all the help I can get.

stewester says:

Has anyone else had pain in this area following a shoulder injury? My shoulder has long since healed but this pain remains. My doctor is useless and tells me there's nothing wrong with me, but there absolutely is.

nish from pune says:

The only problem there is only like button and not love button to this video..have exact pain for years..i kept blaming my two wheeler driving for this..thank you so much..

Carina Nielsson 🌸 says:

Thank you! This really helps!

Zion Raymond Castro says:

The exercises gave me instant relief!

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