Repetitive Strain Injury/Wrist Pain


Hi. I've been feeling pain in my right wrist for a couple of months now and don't know what it is. I'm going to be going to a doctor soon but I'd just like to get an idea of what could be wrong beforehand. Here are some of the symptoms:

-The pain starts right at the top of my wrist, spreading upwards and slightly to my thumb.

-There is no visible swelling anywhere

-forming my right hand into a fist is not so hard but I could feel a small, bearable sort of pain for a second as I do

-I can't bend my right hand as much as my left hand because the pain gets too unbearable

-small, bearable pains come and go when I'm typing

-At an angle, if I move my fingers, my wrist begins to hurt a lot

-I also feel bearable but irritating pain as I turn doorknobs/ faucet handles

I don't know if this will help but I'm also left-handed. Thanks for your help in advance!

Hi Safoora,

First of all, it is my definite belief that you can eliminate this problem quickly and easily. I've lived the exact same scenario you are describing and I'm going to share my story with you to give you hope that it will all be okay. In your case I believe the primary muscles involved are the opponens pollicis (thumb muscle) and extensor muscles (top of the forearm). When your extensors are tight you cannot close your hand into a fist, and it is painful when you try to bring your fingers down to type. This is because the muscle tendons insert on your finger tips and when you curl your hand into a fist the extensors need to stretch. Depending on which of the extensor muscles are in spasm it would also cause the pain to radiate from the top of your wrist to your thumb. Also, a muscle called brachioradialis (also in your forearm) will cause wrist pain at the same side as your thumb. These muscles were a part of the the problem when I lost the use of my left hand (I'm right-handed) back in 1997. As a massage therapist it was one of the worst things that could have happened to me.

I refused surgery because I know how scar tissue can make the problem even worse, and how it can cause the thumb to lose power.  I also wasn't taking a lot of drugs because I was too nervous about the potential dangers to other organs of my body.  Pretty serious stuff, losing the use of my left hand and arm, what good is a "one-armed" massage therapist?!? The pain was horrible, it was totally debilitating and it ended up shutting down my therapy practice.

I started to study every muscle that had any impact, in any manner, on the median nerve to my thumb and first two fingers.  I was surprised to see that it actually starts all the way up at my neck and then was in line all the way to my thumb and palm.  I looked at the common trigger points (spasms) for each muscle and when I would press on them the electric shock would shoot all the way to my hand and wrist.  One of the muscles, the scalenes in my neck, was so bad that when I pressed on it my entire arm felt like I had put it into the barbeque pit! As I held it, the burning went away, and the end-result is the numbness stopped immediately!

I treated each of these muscles and within two hours my hand and wrist were back to normal.  I was so thrilled that I started to look for other people to see if treating the muscles would have the same effect on them.  It did! The only problem was they only got total relief to last for five days, while for me it didn't return at all.  I began to question why that happened and I realized I was treating myself 20 +/- times a day, and I was only treating them for one hour, once a week.  I started to teach people how to self-treat so they could continue their therapy at home and it made an instant difference -- they all got better!

While the pain and numbness was being felt in our hands and wrists (mine and my clients), it was actually coming from other places, and it was actually a repetitive strain injury to the various muscles. Once people learned how to self-treat each of the muscles, they were able to release the tension of the repetitive strain before it caused pain or numbness.  In effect they had eliminated their recurring problem, even though they didn't know it was recurring - the bottom-line was they were functioning perfectly and without pain.

Eventually I figured out how to put the instruction onto a video (now a DVD) and I developed a tool so people would have the right strength to treat the muscles properly. Next I developed a so I could bring this valuable information to people all over the world.  And I'm happy to say that the results have been excellent. I love the fact that people all over the world have been able to eliminate the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms quickly, without drugs, and without surgery.  :-)

You can either learn how to self-treat, or you can list each of the muscles that are on the "Anatomy Lessons" page of the website and then bring it to your massage therapist and have it done for you.  I suggest you find a massage therapist who is skilled at doing trigger point therapy as it will be the most beneficial to you.

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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