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Tag: rhomboids

The is just a quick addendum to the Chronic Knot in the Shoulder blades issue.  The long, aggravating, dull pain that happens when a tight muscle forms between the spine and shoulder blade. The exact muscle is either the trapezius or rhomboids.

Sometimes this can be so painful and tight that it pulls the ribs upwards making you feel as if you can’t breath in deep without feeling it. Most of the time it’s just slightly painful but very annoying.

If you missed it read part 1. There is definitely a solution. 

I wanted to add this post because I want to save you lots of time and money. I don’t want you going on this futile journey of searching for relief for your muscle knot. This is the experience I’ve had and maybe it will help you avoid advice, that while well-meaning, is innocuous.

Remember, I’ve seen lots of different people that have told me many different ways to get rid of the knot and believe me, I have tried many of their remedies and techniques with minimal results and definitely without success.

Many Massage therapists have claimed that stretching the chest muscles will miraculously help get rid of the the knot located on my upper back. “It will help relieve the pressure from the back.” Not in my case.

The entire science of “Trigger points” and rubbing them out as prescribed in the book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook (which I bought), and other books like this do not work either.  Myofascial trigger points (small contraction knots) are real…I think…I’ve never seen one but a lot of people “get” them and they can be rubbed out. This might work for some things such as headaches, joint issues, stress or soreness but not for your knot.

Keeping your head up and not slouching had no effect either. I had a friend of mine tell me everytime I seemed to pull up on my shoulders. I would get the signal and then let them down and relax them. This went on for weeks with no benefit. I would also “sit up straight” at my desk and when watching TV, or having a meal.

Self-adjusting or “Popping” your back might feel good and relieve the pain slightly but doesn’t do anything for the knot. I always thought… If I can just pop my back the right way, then my back would fall in place and the knot would be gone. Nope not that either.

Chiropractors couldn’t do anything. They x-rayed me and professionally “adjusted” me with no success. They all said they could help me. Their specialty was “sports” injuries and put me through “heck” with everything they tried. There was a chiropractor that put little “shock pads” all around my back. This would send little electrical currents to all the muscles that the pad was on. This was interesting but didn’t do anything. I think it even made it worse. Oh yea…One even used a technique where she would push my feet together and then out  for 100 times to do energy work. How was that supposed to help my knot? Maybe a placebo affect that she thought I would fall for?

Accupuncture did not work either. I told people that I just want to “dig a knife” in that knot. It would throb with pain because of the tightness. Well why not stick needles in it? So I did. This did nothing–especially when they wanted to stick them in my ankles. NO WAY!

Warm rags, heating pads, Icy Hot, Ice etc…”It’s a muscle tear, rub it out” …I’ve used all of these. They might feel good, but do not work.

Advil, Tylenol or Aspirin Therpy all are ineffective. Don’t kill your liver doing this.

There’s even those that say it’s a heart problem… Now this is an extreme diagnosis that is just wrong.

Try my advice and technique and be done with it.  SOLUTION.

Again don’t kill yourself. Have a painfree day, and rest of your life (at least from that darned knot!)

Smile Often!

This will relieve the pressure of the muscle knot for a while

This will relieve the pressure of the muscle knot for a while

Believe it or not there is relief for that irritating, painful hard muscle knot between your shoulder blades!

More specifically that intense, chronic contraction of part of the rhomboids (major and minor) or trapezius muscles.

The Start

The muscle knot started out as a sort of “catch” in the muscle. I tried to get rid of it by twisting my back, stretching and pushing on it with my fingers. I knew that my self-adjustments or “crack” to my back would put into the right position and I would have instant relief. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Weeks later I rolled on tennis balls, did the same with golf balls and leaned against wall corners to put pressure on the knot. The pain only intensified.

More to try

Months into the continuous, dull pain I tried more homemade techniques. I had people dig their knuckles and thumbs into the spot. Friends would stand up and walk on my back digging their heels into the knot. There was relief, but it was fleeting. It seemed like hours later that this had only angered the knot. It would be worse—much worse.

I did the Advil technique—four Advils every four hours for a couple of weeks. This had no effect. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try this. Advil is harmful to your liver if taken long term, but that’s for another blog.

Years into it

This is where the muscle "knot" may be

This is where the muscle “knot” may be

I’m not one to go to the doctor for anything, but this knot was ridiculous. I felt like my ribs were being pulled into my lungs. I would take a deep breath and could feel my ribs with small relief.

I scheduled an appointment to see a sports doctor. He checked it out. “Yep” it’s probably a rib-head issue. He took me and twisted me in different ways that seem like it would “pop” the heads back into place. ‘Thank goodness for resolve to this issue’. I thought to myself….but no. I went home and the pain continued. I scheduled another appointment and was back several weeks later.

They did x-rays, found nothing and eventually gave me three injections in different muscles. I’m not sure exactly where the injections were but I believe they were in the trapezius and rhomboids muscles. This was three days of pure ecstasy. I was pain-free.

Then… the pain came back.

More of the same

More advice from well intentioned people some said it was posture and certain workouts. I stopped and started certain workouts. I sat up straight and made sure I didn’t slump.

I visited several massage therapists and told them of my plight. They said it was spasms, scar tissue and fluid buildup. Ice it, heat it, leave it alone. They tried different massage techniques including Deep tissue, Swedish and a variation of Rolfing but nothing assuaged the pain.


Between 4 and 8 years with this chronic pain, I had seen three different chiropractors and other specialist in the field of medicine. I had them adjust, prod, shock and prescribe everything under the sun. One chiropractor mixed in “energy” water with her therapy while another would put weights on my head and let it hang there for 20 or 30 minutes. Believe me I wanted something to work.


I resorted to something that I never thought I would try. Not because I don’t believe in it but because I have this overwhelming feeling whenever I have to sit still. It makes me want to pass out. This feeling is similar to scraping your fingers across a chalk board multiplied by 100. But, I wanted to try.

The acupuncturist pushed in countless needless all throughout my back. She wanted to stick some in my toes and ankles but I vetoed that idea before she fully finished suggesting that. She left them in there for what seemed like days. Probably it was under 20 minutes. This had no effect, expect for the tiny little holes in my back and lower neck area.

Then a breakthrough

It was during one of my workouts that I decided to add back in back extensions. These are good for the gluteus maximus, erector spinae and a host of other muscles in the lower back. It had been years since I had done these. Hours later my back adjusted slightly and I felt relief in that knot. Somehow, someway working out those muscles either stretched out a muscle or weakened a muscle enough to release its hold on the knot.

The Cure


It’s quite easy to keep pain free. I just kept up with the back extension exercise. I do it about three times a week. If for whatever reason I skip the exercise then the muscle knot seems like it wants to rear its ugly head.


Variation of the Back Extension. Use weights


The pictures will show the various back extension exercises that you can perform to help relieve the pain of the knot. There is a second benefit to the exercise—actually the primary benefit to those not afflicted with “the knot”. This exercise is extremely beneficial to the lower back muscles and gluteus.

You should start out using no weights and work yourself up to about 3 sets of 25 reps. Once you have that down, add 10 pounds. It can be a medicine ball or just a plate. With the added weight drop your reps down to between 15 to 20. Continue to increase your weight. Since I’m a guy I use a 35 pound plate.

The end of the exercise should make it difficult to walk, that is a fleeting feeling. Don’t worry, relax and feel the benefits!


Go to Part 2 and add to the list of techniques that don’t work. Help save some out there that might take the wrong advice.

Smile Often