No its not a medical condition that you need cream for.   The rhomboids are upper back muscles that connect between your spine and each of your two shoulder blades.

When they contract, they pull your shoulder blades together. The muscle fibers comprising the rhomboids run on a diagonal. The function of the rhomboid muscles is mainly to affix the scapula against the torso to allow a stable platform/base for the arm to move.  Rhomboid comes from the Greek meaning ‘shaped like a rhombus’ which describes the muscle’s shape


Being upright creatures, we humans have a unique and challenging relationship with gravity. Basically, gravity is a force that creates a downward pull on the structures of the body, including the spine, head, and shoulders.  Sitting at a desk for long periods of time drags the rhomboids down and with our arms out in front of us it also puts the muscle on a stretch. Over time this can develop into a weak muscle and lead to pain around the shoulder blade.

Maintained desk sitting also puts the muscle at the front of our chest into a shortened position so the opposing muscle groups are working against each other and not in harmony

Overstretched rhomboid muscles have decreased ability to contract, resulting in less support for your upper back and neck.  Over time this can prevent the shoulder joint functioning properly and can lead to pain in the glenohumeral joint (the shoulder joint)

Over the last few months I have seen more cases of shoulder and neck pain.  This is partly due to people working from home on desks that are not particularly set up well.  A change in ability to exercise coupled with stress can also aggravate these symptoms.  Muscles like to work through their full range of movement and they love movement.  A muscle put in a lengthened or shortened position for long period of time can become an unhappy muscle

For all the patients I see with pain around their shoulder blade I always discuss ways they can help these unhappy muscles

1 – take regular breaks from your desk and move about

2- perform shoulder shrugs regularly whilst at the desk

3- perform shoulder blade squeezes regularly while sat at your desk

4- have  good stretch out through the front of your chest regularly

5- sit in a good position at your desk so the muscles at the back of your shoulders aren’t in a long position

These are really simple ways to help reduce the strain on the rhomboid muscles. Although a good working position can help any prolonged fixed position can lead to issues.  A physiotherapist can help advise on better ways to sit or work.  I have seen patients who have used a lumbar support but this has lead to them being stuck in a tilted position through their pelvis.  The key is ‘move regularly’.

Next weeks blog will demonstrate some exercises to improve rhomboid strength and function.  You can sign up to receive the latest blogs via the website

If you want more help advice if you are suffering from pain around your shoulder blade then please get in touch to discuss your symptoms

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