Finding them and why bother

This flat shoulder blade muscle passes between the scapula and the spine. Check to see if you are tender alongside the inner edge of the bone.

Where to find your rhomboids muscle

They could alter the position of your scapula as shown...

scapular position

Tender muscles are usually tight. The tight rhomboids may now be tilting the scapula so as to narrow the gap the rotator cuff passes through.

This could increase impingement and pain from your rotator cuff.

They can also be responsible for pain between your shoulder blades.

Stretching rhomboids by yourself

To stretch the Rhomboid muscle, hold your arms out in front of you. Clasp your hands, and try to touch your elbows together.

Stretching your rhomboid muscles.

If your Rhomboids are tight and sore, you will feel discomfort between your shoulder blades. Hold this position until this subsides.

Another way to stretch your rhomboid muscles, is the sideways neck stretch.

When doing this, move your free arm (on the side being stretched) down as much as possible.

Or with help

You can also massage these muscles, or treat them with pressure. This last technique involves bowing or splaying out the muscle, so stretching it, over a few minutes until it relaxes, . It is similar to the method employed in “Rolfing.”

Lie face down for this treatment, with palms down, hands immediately under your shoulders. In this position, the inside edge of your shoulder blade sticks up.

You need someone with good hands to help you. They need to press along the muscles just off the inner border of your scapula.

Pressing to stretch  your rhomboids

When a tight, tender spot is found, it is pressed on with the finger tips pointing away from the spine, attempting to pass under the edge of the scapula.

After a couple of minutes, when the muscle starts to stretch, your assistant’s fingers will sink in further and pass under this edge.

You can be treated the same way sitting up, with your assistant pulling your shoulder back instead of up, and using their thumb to press the muscle.

Similarly, a self help method would be to lean back against a suitably placed knob on something, to do the pressing.

This method does hurt, but just using light pressure I find that most people can put up with the pain.

For a different method for rhomboid stretching, see floota.com

Maintaining them

An exercise for later to maintain the flexibility of the rhomboids, is shoulder rolls described in the chest pain pages.

And dealing with any thoracic spine fixations

Either in your thoracic or cervical spine.

Tight rhomboids probably means some joint, or joints more likely, need attention...

Finding osteopathic lesions in the thoracic spine

Then on to more scapular muscles

Another factor which may be narrowing the space for the rotator cuff, is upwards movement of the head of the Humerus.

This can happen because of weakness of two muscles whose job is partly to hold it down as your raise your arm, so on to...

More shoulder blade muscles and their role in shoulder pain.


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