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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Herniated disk affect Rhomboid?


 MatthewC - Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:41 pm

Male, 31, normal weight, physically active.

History: Six year ago, herniated the disk between my C5, C6. 8/10 pain down left side of back and down left arm. Loss of strength in arm. Pain subsided over time by way of no further exercise, muscle relaxants,and anti-inflammatorys. Strength in arm eventually returned afterwards through progressive weight training.

Six years later, I believe that I still have lingering effects. My left scapula is winged, and still experience pain in my left rhomboid at times. Pain is deep, and radiates through left side of my back, and mildly down the arm. When it flares up particularily bad, the rhomboid is noticeable tense to the touch in comparison with the right.

Deep massage has not given any permanent relief, nor has stretching. Have not tried Chiropractor.

Is this problem with my rhomboid directly the result of the neck herniation years ago, or a coincidence? Regardless, what would be a treatment for this?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:09 pm

User avatar Hello,
Certainly, the winging and rhomboid pain can be secondary to the cervical issues. With rehab, it is easy to neglect the scapulothoracic muscle. However, it is important to specifically strengthening these (rhomboids, serratus anterior, middle and lower traps.)

The long thoracic nerve supplies the serratus anterior which prevents scapular winging. However this nerve was probably not damaged during cervical surgery. May just double check with your orthopedist or neurosurgeon.

So focus on strengthening the scapulothoracic musculature and given no nerve damage, you should make good stides toward a painfree shoulder. See a physical therapist if needed for specifics.

Let us know how it goes.

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