Trigger Points in the Rhomboids are mostly associated with chronic poor posture.
Generally referred to as the rhomboids, these are actually two muscles (major and minor). The rhomboid minor is smaller than the major and sits immediately above the rhomboid major. Both of the rhomboid muscles originate along the thoracic spine with their fibers running diagonally downward and outward to attach along the inside border of the scapula.
Active trigger points in the rhomboids tend to refer pain to the local area, so will usually present as pain described by the client as mid-upper-back pain, or pain at the back of the shoulder.
Whilst trigger points in the rhomboids are pretty easy to identify and treat, we need to be aware that there is usually more work to be done! In many cases, trigger points in other muscles such the pecs, or serratus anterior may be causing those muscles to become less efficient, with a resulting effect on the rhomboids. This is a particularly common scenario with badminton and tennis players. A detailed examination of the clients posture is extremely important when treating the rhomboids, as well as an understanding of the clients lifestyle including their work, exercise, sleep patterns, and general health).
Trigger Points and the Rhomboids
The rhomboid muscles inevitably develop trigger points, usually as a result of aging, and almost always as a result of postural issues.
The rhomboids are busy muscles, as they work almost constantly to retract the scapula, stabilize the scapula, and also assist in the outer range of adduction of the arm (ex. movement of arm overhead, to arm at shoulder level).
Trigger points may develop as a result of years of chronic poor posture (rounded shoulders), but also as a result of inefficiencies in other related muscles (including trigger points in the pecs, serratus anterior), and injuries from activities such as tennis, or any sport that involves overhead throwing.
Trigger Point Therapy
As described above, trigger points in the rhomboids are relatively easy to locate and treat, but the treatment may be more complex and require more time where the trigger points are caused by other issues that need to be addressed.
Ask your therapist about trigger points!
The stretch below is pretty effective for helping to relieve pain in the rhomboid muscles, and may help to dissipate trigger points, especially between hands-on treatments.
Stand with your knees bent. Cross your arms over and grab the back of your knees. Then start to rise upwards until you feel tension in your upper back and shoulders.