View Full Version : Swimming with rhomboid strain

March 2nd, 2010, 10:50 AM
I did some pull-ups last week and injured the rhomboid on the left side of my back. I think it's the rhomboid, anyway. The pain seems to be from near the spine to around the left shoulder blade. I swam a workout immediately after that (last Thursday night) and got through it, but it's been painful since. I also tried to swim on Sunday, but gave up after 45 minutes. I could actually swim OK, but the pain was always there and I didn't want to make it worse. The pain was definitely worse after swimming.

Anyway, the pain is still there today. Should I still swim and just take it easy? Should I limit myself to kicking only, or maybe just stay out of the water entirely for a while? If anyone has dealt with this before I'd be curious what you did.

March 2nd, 2010, 11:02 AM
The pain was definitely worse after swimming.
It would be tough but take a day or 2 off.

March 2nd, 2010, 09:03 PM
I had this situation earlier this year; I was able to swim light workouts without making it worse after 3 days of rest (and lots of ice, tylenol, and help from a Physical Therapist). My problem was up in my neck, but I would get twinges between my shoulder blade and my spine (rhomboid area) when I was swimming.
Good luck!

March 3rd, 2010, 12:20 AM
I decided to rest again today. We'll see how tomorrow goes. I guess I know the answer: I shouldn't swim if it causes pain. I'll probably try to get in the water tomorrow and see how I feel. I've really got no reason to push it too hard right now, anyway.

March 4th, 2010, 11:05 AM
Just to update my diary, I still haven't been in the pool. This injury is very persistent and annoying!

March 4th, 2010, 09:58 PM
I've been carrying the same lately, same cause. If fact, I like (in the gym) to use a very convenient machine that allows me to alternate between pull ups and dips. I was not sure exactly which one of these moves caused the little injury.

I feel it, it's there, but I swim on it. In fact, I always swim on these pain until I am absolutely convinced that rest becomes my only option. Pains stay there longer, but at least they don't interfere too much with the training plan.

If your niggle comes from one of those small muscles, not sure you would make it worst by swimming. I would not recommend that you continue performing pull ups, although it's probably not a deadly sin (I still pull up and dip once a week on the pain, as it there was no pain).

- - -
I just re-read your intro. My pain isn't bad enough to be felt whilst swimming. So I guess that makes your pain bigger than mine.

March 4th, 2010, 11:54 PM
Normally I'd do the same thing as you're doing, Solar, but that wasn't really an option this time. When I swam last Sunday I could hardly move my arm afterward and I couldn't even lift myself up or turn over in bed at night. It was bad.

The good news is it's really seemed to improve today. I'm hoping to get in tomorrow at least for a little while.

March 5th, 2010, 12:02 PM
Hi Kirk,
If I were you, I would rest the injury and see a physical therapist ASAP. They have the knowledge to get you back quickly.

Also, if you need a water fix - Kick, kick and kick! SDKs, 25yard blasts and my fav 5 x 200 w/ or w/out a board. While your healing, you can build a killer kick!

Good luck and I hope your injury heals quickly.

Normally I'd do the same thing as you're doing, Solar, but that wasn't really an option this time. When I swam last Sunday I could hardly move my arm afterward and I couldn't even lift myself up or turn over in bed at night. It was bad.

The good news is it's really seemed to improve today. I'm hoping to get in tomorrow at least for a little while.

March 9th, 2010, 05:39 PM
I know somewhere on here recently there was a thread about sore shoulders, but I'm sleepy and can't find it right now.

I have recently found out the importance of scapular strenghthening, the hard way. Can't swim for maybe 8 weeks.

Can't lift left arm above head. Impingement syndrome. I know it's here somewhere, discussions about it.

But all these weird exercises I should have been doing all along to strengthen my scapulae, sigh. I've always done internal/external rotation, shrugs, biceps, triceps, some others I can't remember. But except for the plank, have pretty much ignored my scapulae per se.

Now I am trying to isolate my left scapula by shrugging it back, then lowering it slowly (standing), only using my scapula.

Lying on the floor and raising my arm (no weights yet) straight up to ceiling just an inch or so and lowering it slowly.

Lying on my "This End Up" table (excellent investment; indestructible; so far hasn't tipped over with my weight on its edge) with arm hanging down: extend it back parallel to my body, palm facing ceiling, hold for six seconds, release. Do 20. Newly added: same exercise but palm facing floor, arm out to side, no weights, hold 6 seconds.

And the most recent but hardest one yet: stand at a wall, feet about 12" from wall and 12" apart. Arms are straight and on wall. Push out so scapulae stretch back (easy part). Then, without adjusting arms, squeeze scapulae down and together. Repeat x 10 for now. Very hard to squeeze scapulae together without adjusting arms or arching back (you keep arms straight the whole time).

And on the thread I remember but am too sleepy to hunt for, there is the roll the ball against the wall with straight arm, only I'm told I'm not ready for that one yet.

I think the scapular exercises are not always emphasized. I really thought I was doing all the ones I needed.


Am also trying to use dance imagery, which is very weird. My dance books say that the forward head and how you walk determines lots of problems with shoulders. Images include imagining you have a long, lizardlike tail dragging behind you when you walk; that you take a hammer and tap the back of your shoulder tips forward (imagined); that your neck grows long like Alice in Wonderland's; that your arms are falling out of their sockets like an old broken doll's; that your first rib is rising up toward your head; so you never know what someone is thinking about when they walk down the street.

Good luck to all. I noticed with alarm that if I am slumping while talking my palms face completely to the back so I look like an ape. I have become most interested in observing how people hold their hands when they walk. A fellow swimmer said her doctor told her to be able to see her thumbs when she walks (in other words, don't walk with ape hands). I am now looking at people all the time to see how they hold their hands.

And thanks for the kick set. I am kicking a lot with arms by my side. Kind of boring but kick needs work. I find doing 360-degree underwater dolphins as far as I can gets me nice and winded (two or three kicks on front, then to side, then upside down, then to other side, then on front). It's also a good way to drown, since my arms are by my sides. Have to time it so I can get up for air quickly.

March 11th, 2010, 09:44 AM
you back in yet?

March 11th, 2010, 10:38 AM
Yes, I'm back. I wouldn't say I'm 100% healed, but it isn't really affecting my swimming now. The only thing affecting my swimming is being out of the water so much in the last couple weeks! I've got a meet this Saturday. We'll see how the "not swimming" taper works out.

March 11th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Good to hear you're better.

I pulled the same muscle, but on a much smaller scale, yesterday. Only trivial movements cause pain but I took a 800mg motrin and swam today. Muscle felt OK, but my whole body felt lethargic. Does motrin do that?