Repetitive Strain Injury/treatment for arm contractions


I suffered a neck injury in the early 2000's by falling off a large trampoline onto the ground and landing on my neck. This subsequently left me stiff as a board and in stead of seeking treatment I self medicated and walked around like Egor for months.Eventually years later the pain subsided. Fast forward to 2010 and while doing pull ups i felt a pop around c5-7. In the coming days I received treatment from a chiropractor at work, deep tissue massages and ultimately while the manipulation helped for mins maybe hours, the pain got worse. This lead me to being on short term disability. The physical therapist stated I tore my rotator cuff based off of my limited range of motion and inability to raise my left arm. I checked into an ER  stayed on morphine for 3 days and was released with a diagnosis of spinal stenosis in c-3 & c4. Now that the neck pain has subsided for the most part, I find that flexing or attempting to scratch my back my bicep, and muscles under my arm get extremely tight to the point of excrutiating pain. Finally, my question is...what can I do to fend off the pain as I want to start lifting weights (for the first time in life). Even moreso, what could possibly be wrong? Is this something that will haunt me for the rest of my days or can be corrected?

Hi Charles,

I absolutely shuttered when I read your message, you are so fortunate to be alive and that you aren't paralyzed!  I'm surprised that it took this long before you started to have all the symptoms you are feeling now. Since the pain subsided (did it go away completely, or just lessen in intensity?) maybe this new pain from 2010 isn't related, although I would tend to think that it is a continuation of the original injury.

It's good to hear that the deep tissue massages and chiropractic manipulation helped for a short time because that gives a good indication that the problem is coming from tight muscles. I say this because if it were something else the odds are high that it wouldn't go away for any time at all, but with muscles the bones may have been moved back into place but the muscle will pull it back out of alignment again.

There are a lot of muscles that will give all of the symptoms you are feeling.  Before we get to talking about each muscle it will help if you go to and read the Home Page, and the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Ezactly."  You may also find some interesting information about shoulder pain by reading the Muscle and Joint Pain Forum.

Once you have read this information, please feel free to return and we can talk about each muscle that is likely a part of your problem.  My initial feeling is for you to do an internet search and look at several muscles: the biceps, triceps (cause shoulder pain), latissimus dorsi (when tight this muscle will prevent you from lifting your arm up), and the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles will prevent you from bringing your arm back so you can scratch your back.  

I've worked with thousands of athletes over the years and it is my opinion that you'll be able to learn how to self-treat each of these muscles successfully.  After you read the website mentioned I believe you'll have a much better idea of why the muscles are playing such havoc, and how you can self-treat them.

I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

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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