Repetitive Strain Injury/Shoulder Pain


Hi Julie,

I'm not entirely sure if this would be something you can help me with but I'll give it a go!

I've started Krav Maga (basically a system to defend yourself from attack).  I'm female, age 34, and not an athelete.

There is a strike that I would describe as a 'roundhouse' punch but you do it with an open palm.

Anyway after practicing this with a pad I had pain in my shoulder.   It is mostly at the front I don't feel any pain in my back.  It lasted for a few days then went.

I guess I've done something to the rotator cuff as I'm not strong enough and hit the pad too hard.

It did eventually go away after I didn't do anything for a week or so but when I practiced again it came back and seems to be lingering longer than before.

Do you think I just have natural weakness there because I'm unfit or did I tear something that healed but tore it again?  It isn't incredibly painful but enough to stop me from hitting that pad again!!

I'm really gutted as I can do everything else in the class and was really enjoying it.

I'm hoping it will heal and as long as I strengthen my shoulders I can continue once the pain has gone away.

Any ideas what I did or how to stop it from returning?



Hi Lisa,

It's impossible to tell if you tore something unless you get an MRI, but for right now let's assume that you have repetitively strained some of your muscles and they are putting pressure on your joint.

If you go to and read about repetitive strain injuries, including the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly," that should help explain how tight muscles can put enough pressure on the joint that it actually feels torn.  The analogy I always use is, if you pull your hair hard enough your head will hurt and you can't move in the opposite direction, but the only thing you need to do to be okay again is to let go of your hair.  It's the same with muscles, if the muscle is pulling hard the joint will hurt and you can't move in the opposite direction, but all you need to do is release the tight muscle.

There is a forum on that website that has a lot of good information that can help you too.  You can self-treat these muscles really easily, the shoulder is one of the easiest joints to self-treat.  The website will explain how to learn about self-treatments.  Basically you will just use a ball and press into the spasms that are causing the tension.

I believe you'll get relief.  If you self-treat the muscles and you still can't move easily, then there is the possibility of a tear, but it's definitely worthwhile to check out the tight muscles first.

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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