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Repetitive Strain Injury/Constant Pain & Numbness - Auto Accident


I was in a mild car accident 8 months ago (hit from behind while at a stop light) that caused whiplash and mid and upper back pain. The neck issues seem to have resolved but for the last 5 months I've gone to physical therapy and though my symptoms have improved, they continue to exist after 40+ sessions. I still experience mild numbness in my pinky and ring finger (and that same edge of my hand), as well as slight elbow soreness and constant soreness in my outer scapula area. My physical therapist seems ready to throw in the towel even though I feel like we are making progress (albeit incredibly slow progress)...she's even tossed around the phrase "might be as good as you're ever going to get". At just 28 years old, thinking I might have to live with this for the rest of my life is terrifying--and that's assuming it doesn't even get worth with age!

Are there certain conditions I should look into or specific treatments or therapies to try? Is there a certain type of doctor that may be able to better diagnose or treat my problem? (early on I had had and MRI, nerve test, etc that revealed nothing)

Please help, I'm at a loss...

Hi Tyler,

I totally agree with you that this is not something you should be living with, especially at just 28YO.  The odds are that you have spasms in your anterior scalenes, and probably also in your pectoralis minor and levator scapulae muscles. Fortunately you can self-treat each of these muscles.  

If you go to you can read about repetitive strain injuries. I suggest you also read the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly."  While your problem is caused by an accident, not repetitive strains, the end-result is the same and they are treated the same.  I also suggest you go to and read the section titled "Anatomy Lessons."  You don't have CTS, but the muscles will press on the ulnar nerve (the website spends more time talking about the median nerve, but that's okay, again it's treated the same either way). An ulnar nerve impingement will cause numbness in your pinky and ring finger.

Please don't accept a "good as it will get" answer. I've worked with thousands of people and I'm certain that you can move much further along with this.  

Wishing you well,
   Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

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Julie Donnelly, LMT


I can accept questions that relate to chronic or acute pain caused by muscle spasms and contractions. Repetitive Strain Injury is actually Cumulative Trauma to muscles. Releasing the spasm &/or contraction will relieve the strain that is felt at the insertion point on the bone. I am the co-developer of the unique safe-stretching program "Focused Flexibility Training," which combines easy instruction for self-treating spasms throughout your body with proven yoga stretches. I have recently authored two new books: "The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution," and "The Secret to Your Best Golf Game EVER!


Since 1989 I have been working with endurance athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. I have authored seven self-treatment books and three self-treatment DVDs and I have developed the Julstro System for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, Trigger Finger, and other Hand/Wrist pain. I am a national and international presenter at conventions, seminars, and workshops. Principle topics are "Work Shouldn't Hurt," and "The Pain Free Athlete." In 2005 and 2006 I was the massage therapist for ultracyclists competing in the Race Across America (RAAM) 3000+ mile race from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. I've taught the Julstro techniques to physical therapists at the Cleveland Clinic, to massage therapists in areas around the USA, and I've taught Julstro self-treatment clinics to dancers at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (NYC),the sprinting team at NC State, and I am working closely with several Olympic-hopeful. We have successfully eliminated the repetitive strain injuries that could keep them out of the Olympic Games, and the best part is they know how to do the self-treatments so they can stay pain-free and flexible.

Triathlete Magazine, Endurance Magazine, multiple national and international trade journals.

Swedish Institute of Allied Health, NY, NY - Initial education in massage therapy Licensed NYS Massage Therapist since 1989. SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY - B.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Health Education I was an Associate Professor helping to develop the massage training program for SUNY Rockland Community College

Past/Present Clients
Privacy prevents me from filling in this section without prior consent from my clients. Life Experience: I have been specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries since receiving my NY massage license in 1989. A personal bout with carpal tunnel syndrome was the catalyst to my developing a self-treatment that heals the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and without surgery. My work with endurance athletes was the inspiration to teach people how to self-treat so they could stop pains even during a race or heavy training day. Both of these situations ultimately became the products that are sold on my websites: and I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

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