Rhomboid strain or spasm can occur when the rhomboid muscles are placed in a lengthened position for prolonged periods of time, such as in individuals with rounded shoulder posture. Being in a lengthened position for prolonged periods increases tension in the rhomboids that over time can lead to spasm or strain. To avoid straining the rhomboids, attention must be paid to upper-body posture, ensuring that the shoulders are not rounded or elevated for extended periods. To help maintain good upper-body posture and decrease strain to the rhomboids, a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises should be implemented. An example of a stretch that may help improve upper-body posture is the standing chest stretch. When the chest muscles become tight, they can pull the shoulders forward. This standing chest stretch can be performed against any stable object such as a doorway, wall, pole, etc. Perform the stretch by following the technique described below. Start by standing with the forearm in a vertical position against a stable object with the elbow and shoulder bent at 90-degree angles. Next, place the feet in a staggered stance position so that the back leg is on the same side of the body as the chest muscle being stretched. Lastly, slowly shift your body weight forward until a stretch is felt in front toward the front of the shoulder and chest; hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. Follow the standing chest stretch with an exercise to strengthen the rhomboids such as the ball cobra, which will reinforce proper posture in the upper body. To perform the ball cobra, lie face down with a stability ball under the mid-section, feet pointed toward floor, and legs straight. Extend your arms out in front of the ball, making sure to keep the elbows straight. Next, draw-in the belly button and squeeze the butt muscles while pinching the shoulder blades together and down in order to bring the arms around to the side of the body. Slowly return the arms to in front of body, and repeat the above sequence for 10-15 repetitions.
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