Repetitive Strain Injury/Ultrasound Question


Hi, the question I have is very complicated to answer. I cant get a strait answer. I have torn my Rhomboid Muscle and Lower Trap off my spine. mri shows nothing, everything normal. I want to know will a Posterior Ultrasound show the posterior muscles such as the Rhomboids and lower Trap muscle to see if is torn or has detached from my scapular spine. Nobody can give me a answer. Thanks,Todd.

Hi Todd,

I'm glad to see you're going to your doctor about this, and that you've had an MRI to see if it is torn.  The fact that the MRI shows nothing means the odds are good that it is not torn from the bone as that would show up clearly in the test.  The thing that doesn't show up on any type of test is when there is a spasm in the muscle fibers.  

To simply say "a spasm" doesn't sound serious, but it is because it is a knot in the muscle fibers that is putting a severe strain on both ends of the muscle.  All tests will show up as normal, but the spasm is straining the muscle so much that if it's bad enough it can actually be the cause of the muscle tearing from the bone.  If the muscles were severed from the bone you would be in excruciating pain and you wouldn't be able to move your arm or shoulder toward your back (for example, clasping your hands behind your back).

It will help you understand this situation if you go to and then look at the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly."  I understand your frustration, I've worked with so many people over the past 25 years that have been experiencing pain and limited range-of-motion, all while being told that everything is "normal."  It's not normal, but since there isn't a test to show muscle spasms, they are overlooked the vast majority of the time.

I suggest you try this simple test: take a tennis ball, place it in a sock and then put it on your shoulder blade and press your shoulder into the ball/sock while leaning into a wall.  Keep moving around until you find a tender point, and then stay on it for about 30 seconds.  Then move the ball/sock more toward your rhomboid and do the same thing.  Keep looking for hot spots and repeat the 30 second pressure, always making sure that you only go to the "hurts so good" level, and never go too deep.  If you start to find points (also called "trigger points") you know that you have multiple muscle spasms.  This is what I would suspect is going to happen to you.

Let me know how you're doing.

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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