The Knot

Sep 18, 2018

If you have any kind of job that involves sitting, then chances are you have experienced that "knot".  The one that feels like it sits right under your shoulder blade, achy, burning and sore! You try to take a break and work it out but it doesn't budge.  When you go home, you ask your spouse to try to work it out but they can't find the right spot. A hot bath and maybe some advil takes the edge off, but you can still feel it.  You dread the next work day because you know it might be waiting for you tomorrow.

Am I describing something you have experienced?  If so, I have some remedies for you!

What is it?

There are a number of areas in the upper back that can become sore and irritated, but the one I am talking about is trigger points in the rhomboid muscles.  They lie between the shoulder blades and can become over stretched in postures that round the shoulders forward. Excessive sitting at a computer can be too fatiguing to these muscles and they respond by becoming tight (a knot) and developing trigger points (hyper sensitive areas of the muscle).

Can I prevent it?

Yes!  I'm sure you have heard it all before, but it works - get moving!  Static postures are not natural for us. If you can take breaks, do so.  Postural strengthening is an important tool to prevent rhomboid pain. There are easy exercises that you can do at your desk that can make all the difference.

Ok, I have pain.  What can I do?

Understand that the problem is your upper back has been over stretched.  Your rounded shoulders are the cause.

Step 1:  Stretch your chest!  This will relieve the strain that is being placed on those poor rhomboids.

Step 2:  Self massage.  Any lacrosse or tennis ball is all you need.  Find an empty patch of wall, place the ball between your upper back and the wall and lean into it.  You will soon find a sore spot where you can slowly push into, making small circles with the ball. Don't overdo it!  Those muscles are already cranky, so excessive massage will make matters worse.

Step 3:  Strengthen your upper back.  Easy exercises you can do are seated rows and shoulder blade squeezes (where you try to pull your shoulder blades closer together).

As a massage therapist, I see this type of pain regularly.  Massage therapy is an excellent way to relieve pain and muscle tension for the rhomboids.  If you have a desk job and experience discomfort, try booking a massage. Massage therapists can also provide information on how you can prevent pain in the future.  

Physiotherapists can provide strengthening programs and postural retraining.  Massage and Physio go great together. Give us a call at 780-458-8505 if you have any questions or to book an appointment. 


Tags: back pain
Category: Mark Ellis, RMT

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