Shoulder pain and misalignment
As you know I am the moderator for several forums on the internet. On one of them I received this message:
I strained my right rhomboid 10 years ago while playing baseball in high school. The pain is felt in the rhomboid as well as in the front of the shoulder and in the neck. I received physical therapy after the injury, but the pain has persisted. Additionally, my right shoulder is slightly slumped forward and out of alignment with my left shoulder. I love working out but because of the strain on my shoulder, my muscles on my right side (pec, shoulder, trapezius) are not as developed as they are on my left. While the issue is not devastating, it is troublesome and I’d like to try to find a solution while I’m still young and active. I’m curious as to whether you’ve dealt with this. I’d also like to know whether your system will help realign my shoulders so that my right shoulder is back in line with my left. I’m basically looking for a total cure.
This problem is very common so I wanted to share the answer with you in case you are having shoulder pains, or if you have any friends with chronic shoulder problems.
Your rhomboids are the muscles that are between your shoulder blades and when they contract normally you will draw your shoulder blades back toward your spine. However, it has been my experience that most of the time when a person is feeling pain in the rhomboid area it isn’t the rhomboids that are causing the problem. Actually, it is often the case that the pain is coming from muscles either at the top of the shoulder, or the top of the chest, under the pectoralis major muscle.
The first muscle is called the levator scapulae. This muscle originates on your cervical vertebrae and inserts into the top of your shoulder blade. When it contracts normally you lift your shoulders, in fact the nickname for this muscle is “the shrug muscle.” When it gets tight or goes into spasm it is continually pulling up on your shoulder blade, or pulling down on your top four cervical vertebrae. This tension will cause serious headaches &/or pain in your shoulder and between your shoulder blades.
The next muscle is called the pectoralis minor which originates on your ribs and inserts into a tiny bone at your shoulder, which is actually a part of your shoulder blade. When the pecs minor contract they pull your shoulder forward. A person who has poor posture and a rounded back is suffering from tight pectoralis minor muscles. This is the muscle that is causing you to have your shoulder slump forward.
There are many other muscles that can be secondary to these two muscles, but I believe it’s important to first release the tension in your levator scapulae and pectoralis minor muscles. You can look at these muscles by doing an internet search.
If you already have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living, I suggest you do all of the treatments for the posterior neck, shoulders, upper back, upper chest, and even your upper arm, especially your biceps since they originate at the same point as your pecs minor inserts.
Muscles cause pain for the same reason that pulling your hair will hurt your scalp. The muscles insert at a joint and when the muscle fibers are tight from spasms or repetitive strain injury, they are putting pressure on the insertion point and it hurts. You don’t need to stretch them, you do need to first find the spasms, release them, and then you can safely stretch. The body is so logical, when you understand it and pay attention to what it is telling you.
Wishing you well,