constant acute pain in the rhomboid region

by Barbara
(Wales)


Constant acute pain in the rhomboid region can be a diagnostic nightmare.

I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder six months ago and hence used my left arm for everything. Around Xmas I was carrying heavy shopping baskets and bags of shopping in my left arm and began to notice pain in my upper left back.

Despite the fact I have avoided lifting heavy bags for a while now, the pain in my upper left back is excruciating.
I have had deep tissue massages and seen a physiotherapist who thought is might misalignment of the scapula. However, the pain is getting worse. My movement is not affected and I have no tingling in my arms or hands.

Grateful if you might have some insight into what is going on.

Hello Barbara,
Deep upper back pain is one of the difficult areas diagnostically. It can be:
1. A pinched nerve in the lower neck supplying the rhomboid muscle.
2. A fixated rib head.
3. A subluxated upper thoracic vertebra.
4. Arthritic change in the upper back.
5. Referral from the lung or other organs.
6. A shoulder or scapula issue.

Seeing that movement does not affect it, also head rotation and extension? and there is no tingling, I'd be inclined towards 3 or 4. Is there any chest pain along the breastbone?

It's been a long time now, and my thoughts are to get an xray of the your upper thoracic spine, and perhaps neck.

Let us know what happens.

Dr B



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