Repetitive Strain Injury/Repetitive Strain Injury


Hello Julie,

I ran across a post by you that may fit my issue.
I sit at a computer 8 hours a day, I have had bad posture for years which I have corrected. I have suffered for about 2 years now with pain pain and more pain.  Chest pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain, all which has calmed where I can control it now. But, my neck from the base to the back of my ear (mastoid) hurts to the touch ( jaw included)   and something on the right side up the neck makes me dizzy and spaced out feeling. I think it is in the mastoid bone area. I can feel it tighten more and more and my ear on that side starts to hurt and feel like its going to pop. My ear on that right side also feels the pain in a way, it gets red and starts to water, like it is getting fatigued. This makes me really worn out. I am just looking for any suggestions or answers.. I have been to ER, had a MRI, family doctors, physical therapists, chiros, nothing has helped me.

Thank you for your time,

Hi Aaron,

I'm glad you have already seen your physician and everything has been shown to be clear, this gives us a excellent chance that it's all being caused by a tight muscle.  The muscle I believe is causing the problem is the sternocleidomastoid (SCM for short).  The SCM originates on the front of your collar bone and inserts into the mastoid bone.  When it contracts you turn your head in the opposite direction.

It will help you understand if you go to and read the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly."  When the SCM is tight it is pulling hard on the mastoid bone and you can feel pain on the side of your head, and especially into your ear.  This is the muscle that is involved in tinnitus and loss of equilibrium. It's not difficult to self-treat, it's just a bit tricky to explain without the benefit of pictures.

If you turn your head very hard to the side (let's say you turn to the left, your right SCM will be prominent, and vice-versa.  Find the muscle with your fingers and then put your bent pointer finger (same side hand)in the front of the muscle (as close to your jaw as possible) and your thumb on the back of the muscle.  Don't squeeze yet, just fine the area.  Now turn your head so you are facing forward, now squeeze the muscle.  Be sure you don't feel a pulse under your fingers or you are pressing on your carotid artery.  It will probably hurt, and may refer into your eye, head, or ear.  Just hold it until it stops hurting.

There are other ways steps to treating this muscle, but this is the most important one.  I hope you'll be able to do it as it's very effective.

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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