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Repetitive Strain Injury/Burning pain in right latissimus dorsi


Hi, I have a burning pain in what I think is my right latissimus dorsi. However, the only time I feel the burn is doing lat pulldowns. I can usually get to about 10 or 12 reps before I feel the burn start to kick in. I can do rows and pullovers without any pain at all. I have a small TENS unit that I've been using along with the foam roller & when I can stand it, a tennis ball. If I press hard enough on the area I believe I can feel it in my right anterior delt. It's not knotty in the area...just a 'nerve' kind of burning.

I don't feel the pain any other time except when I'm doing a lat pulldown.

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Hi Sherry,

I have a feeling that since you only feel it when doing lat pulldowns that it's actually not coming from your lats, but it is coming from your scalenes (do an internet search so you can see them) in your neck. The scalenes originate on your 1st rib and insert into your cervical vertebrae, and they cross over a bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus. This bundle of nerves innervates your upper body, arms, and hands.

If you go to you can find a section called Anatomy Lessons that has a good graphic of the scalenes and the brachial plexus.  When you are doing the lat pulldown exercise, this muscle is lengthening, and I think this is what is causing the pressure on the brachial plexus.

I can't put it here on a public forum, but if you email me directly via the website, I'll tell you how to test if that is the case and your scalenes need to be treated.

In any case, I believe you'll be able to self-treat this successfully, it just takes some direction and focused energy.

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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