Rhomboid pain followed by tingling in elbow and hand

by Taylor
(Lincoln, NE)

» » Rhomboid pain followed by tingling in elbow and hand.


My name is Taylor. I've had a pain behind my shoulder blade, down my back towards the spine a little ways. I recently thought I had a rhomboid strain. More recently I've had tingling down my arm to my fingers, mostly the pinky, ring and middle. I'm wondering if my muscles can be knotted up pulling on a nerve and if I should be focusing on healing my rhomboid muscles.

It usually does not hurt in the morning, or when I'm using it. It hurts more when I bending over, picking things up, holding a bottle up, and at the end of a long day. I still can't tell if it's getting any better or worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Hello Taylor,
Rhomboid area pain is always difficult diagnostically as there are so many possible causes. From a rib, the thoracic spine, a lung condition, or even from internal organs. But in your case the tingling down your arm is a dead give away. This has something to do with the lower neck area, and specifically the first rib probably.

The rhomboid is a C5 muscle, being innervated by the dorsal scapular nerve; since C5 also supplies the arm, one would expect tingling and perhaps pain in the shoulder region.

However, with yours going even further down to the hand, and especially as it's following a non-dermatomal pattern, I'd be suspecting a fixation of the first rib, affecting the interscalene triangle.

There are two diagnostic signs to confirm it; does raising your arm when the hand is tingling increase or decrease the paresthesias, as they are called?

Secondly, a difficult test to perform by Adson would show a reduction in the pulse in your wrist when you turn your head in a particular way.

Look for a chiropractor who knows how to perform Adson's test to confirm my suspicions. Perhaps print this out.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

Dr B.

» Rhomboid pain followed by tingling in elbow and hand.

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