Repetitive Strain Injury/teres major injury


Could an injury to the teres major cause pain & pins/needles down my left arm?  The pain worsens when I press on the area of the muscle and my elbow.

Hi Maria,

Yes, it could although it's probably a secondary cause of the problem.  A muscle in your chest called the pectoralis minor originates on your ribs and inserts into a tiny bone of your shoulder blade (scapula) called the caracoid process.  When the pecs minor contracts it will cause this bone to move forward and that will then put a strain on every muscle that attaches to the scapula.  

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," as these sections will explain more about how a spasm in one place will refer pain to another place.  Pins & needles is the result of pressure on a nerve, in this case I would say it's the ulnar and median nerves.  You can look at how muscles impact these nerves by going to and looking at the section titled Anatomy Lessons.

You can self-treat each of these muscles (the websites will explain how you can learn to do this) or you can go to a good massage therapist to have the muscles treated for you.  The muscles that I believe need to be treated are: pectoralis minor, levator scapulae, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, and subscapularis.  You can see these muscles by doing an internet search.  You'll see that they each have an origination or insertion on the scapula, so they can each cause pressure to be placed on the median and ulnar nerves.

In any case, I believe you can eliminate this situation by releasing the tension in the muscles listed.

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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