Pain-free Living Blog with Julie Donnelly

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Short Leg Syndrome – Is It Muscle Tension or Bone Length?

Short Leg Syndrome is a condition where one leg is shorter than the other This leg length discrepancy frequent causes a  long of aches and pains. from the neck to the feet. However, is your leg actually shorter, or is it just pulled up into your pelvis and appearing to be shorter?

You need to have x-rays and measure the bones to prove that they are different lengths. If the bones prove to be the same length then muscles are causing the short leg syndrome symptoms.

I received a message from a concerned father about his son, a dedicated teenage athlete.  His son plays sports despite the pain in his tight hamstrings and having short leg syndrome . His message read:

My son has been suffering from tight hamstrings from the age of about 12. He played on regardless as he was a exceptional player and the team needed him. He was told by a physio to do stretching for his hamstrings but it has persisted. We have noticed that one leg is shorter. He now plays football and does boxing and is very fit, but he is suffering very tight and sore hamstrings. The pain is lower on left and high near to the Gluteus Maximus on the right leg.

Why Muscles Can Cause Short Leg Syndrome

psoas and iliacus tension causes short leg syndromeShort leg syndrome commonly happens when the muscles that insert into the top of the thigh bone (femur) become tight. When the muscles go into a spasm (knot) or a contraction (shorten) they pull UP on the bone.

In the case of the psoas and iliacus muscles, they will be pulling the thigh bone up toward the pelvis.

The tension in these two muscles not only cause short leg syndrome but a list of other conditions.  You may also have a pelvis rotation which causes overstretched hamstrings, sciatica, groin pain, knee pain, and low back pain.

It gets complicated because the pelvis rotation causes one of the thigh muscles to shorten pulling your pelvis DOWN in the front. While all this is happening your thigh bone is being pulled UP, giving the symptoms of short leg syndrome.

Meanwhile, muscles in the back of your body are having to compensate for the pelvis rotation. Which brings me to the gluteus maximus, the thick and strong muscle of your butt.  This muscle also inserts into the top of your thigh bone. When the gluteus maximus is tight it pulls up on the thigh bone, drawing it toward your pelvis. Another cause for the appearance of short leg syndrome.

muscles - Gluteal Muscles cause hip pain and short leg syndrome

The three gluteal muscles all insert into the top of your thigh bone and pull it up toward the pelvis.

This action is required in order to walk. However, when any of the muscles are in spasm they pull your thigh bone toward the pelvis.


The last muscle we’ll discuss that causes the symptoms of short leg syndrome is the tensor fascia lata. This muscle goes from the outside of your pelvis and inserts into the top of your thigh bone. The tendon, called the iliotibial band (ITB), continues down and inserts into the outside of your knee.

tensor fascia lata muscle causes short leg syndrome and also knee and hip pain

Since the tensor fascia lata inserts into the top of your thigh bone it can cause short leg syndrome.

The tensor fascia lata muscle merges into your ITB and inserts into your knee. When it is shortened by a spasm you will feel tight along the outside of your thigh. Many people complain about a tight ITB and rub their leg, but it’s really the tensor fascia lata muscle that is in spasm.

Your tensor fascia lata muscle needs to be released to stop knee pain, hip pain, and short leg syndrome.

Are the Hamstrings Involved in Short Leg Syndrome?

No, not really, although the pelvis rotation is involved in hamstring pain.  As your pelvis is going down in the front, and up in the back, it will cause your hamstrings to overstretch.

Tight hamstrings cause pain from top to bottom. It is easy to imagine what would happen if the hamstrings were being overstretched. Pain is felt at the top of the muscle, along the bone, and also behind the knee.

Stretching, or treating the spasms that are common in hamstrings, would be a potential cause for further injury.

The hamstrings should always be treated last to prevent the muscle fibers from stretching further.

An Easy Treatment for Short Leg Syndrome

As I mentioned, there are many muscles involved in short leg syndrome. For the sake of time and length, this blog will only support one treatment. However this treatment is important and it will give benefits to other problems, including short leg syndrome.

Treating the muscle spasm in the hip joint that impacts short leg syndrome


An easy self-treatment is to lie on a ball. You can also do this standing up and leaning into a wall.



In my book Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living teach how to treat all of the muscles involved in short leg syndrome.

Short leg syndrome is a term to describe the problem, but the source of the pain is often overlooked.  It will benefit you to explore the muscle involvement before you opt for expensive orthotics or medical treatments.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Hamstring pain and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Shoulder Joint Pain Prevents Throwing a Baseball

Infraspinatus self-treatment for relief of shoulder pain

Shoulder Joint Pain and Sports:

Shoulder joint pain was preventing a father from throwing a baseball to his son and he was very distressed.  He was complaining to a friend of his, who is a client of mine. Even though he had been recommended to go for surgery, his friend convinced him to give muscle therapy a chance. So yesterday “Frank” came in to see me.

He demonstrated throwing a ball, but he could barely lift his arm, and he definitely couldn’t bring it back. He said that his time with his son is precious to him, and that their favorite pastime is throwing a baseball.  If I could just help him do that he would be happy.

Why Muscles Cause Shoulder Joint Pain

Shoulder joint pain is caused by multiple musclesYour shoulder has more muscle attachments than any other joint in your body.  A muscle pulls in only one direction, muscles never push. When you consider all the movements you can make with your shoulder and arm, you can see why there are so many muscles involved.

The important fact is when a muscle is shortened from spasms, it will cause pain at the insertion point on the bone at the shoulder joint.

The reason is evident when you consider an analogy I frequently use to describe joint pain. If you pull your hair at the end, it hurts at your scalp.  However, you don’t need to massage your scalp, you don’t need to take aspirin for the headache, and you definitely don’t need brain surgery!  You just need to let go of your hair!

The exact same thing is true to stop your shoulder joint pain. You just need to let go of the tight muscles that insert into your shoulder.

The Muscles That Cause Shoulder Joint Pain

Perhaps you’ve heard of the rotator cuff muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. However, my experience has proven that there are a lot of other muscles that aren’t considered shoulder muscles, but that will cause shoulder joint pain. Those muscles are your biceps and triceps, your levator scapulae, and your latissimus dorsi (among others).

While not rotator cuff muscles, your biceps and triceps both originate deep within your shoulder joint. The other two muscles will move your shoulder blade (scapula). When they are in spasm, which shortens the muscle fibers, it will cause a strain to be placed on the muscle tendon, which will then cause a strain, and pain, on your shoulder joint.

How to Release Shoulder Joint Pain

Treat Yourself to pain-free living bookThere are so many muscles involved in shoulder joint pain that I couldn’t show all of them here, that’s why I wrote Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living.

However, I do want to show you how to do one treatment, for your infraspinatus muscle.



But first, back to “Frank.”  I treated each of the muscles mentioned, and then using Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, I showed him how to treat each of the muscles of his shoulder.  He was thrilled!  He could easily, and painlessly, throw a baseball.  In fact, he went outside and tried it just to make sure.

The key is self-treatment.  Muscles will again shorten up until you train them to be their normal, longer, length. You can’t go to a therapist as often as necessary to make the muscles return to their proper length. However, you can treat yourself every day! That’s how you really stay flexible and pain-free — frequent self-treatment.

An Easy Treatment for Shoulder Joint Pain

The following pictures are from Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living

Placing ball to do infraspinatus self-treatmentStep 1: To treat your left infraspinatus, put the Perfect Ball in your right hand and bring it under your arm, going back as far as you can so you are on top of your infraspinatus muscle.



Infraspinatus self-treatmentStep 2:  Lean into a wall.  Find the “hot spot” (the spasm).  You’ll know you’re on it because it will hurt.

Step 3:  Stay still for 30-60 seconds, then move a little bit to roll the ball back and forth on the muscle.


Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living will explain this further, and will give you pictures and descriptions of how to self-treat the other muscles that cause shoulder joint pain.

It just takes a little bit of direction and effort to learn how to self-treat. But, I’ve seen so many times that you CAN stop shoulder joint pain!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Joint Pain, Pain Free News and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris or Pain in Upper Side of Your Forearm

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris

The question about the extensor carpi ulnaris came from a woman who knew the Julstro Method worked but wasn’t sure how to apply it to a new problem.

Question from a woman in pain: I developed a new pain over the winter holidays in my right wrist. It hurts on the outer edge when I, palm down, move my hand to the right without moving my wrist (thereby creating an angle with my pinky/edge of hand and my arm). I use that movement a lot when typing and am too lazy to move my whole arm when pressing the delete button. I consulted your book the Pain Free Triathlete and think I should treat it by pressing on my flexor muscle (the one on my right arm closest to my body if I stand with my arms by my side and my palms up), but wanted to check with you to see if that is the right treatment.

You’ve previously helped me treat my knee pains relating to a contracted quad muscle which was amazing!  Can you please advise?

Thank you so much


Answer from Julie Donnelly: I just LOVE it when people can figure out what is happening and then take it one step further.

You’re close, rather than the flexors, which are on the underside of your forearm, the problem is likely coming from a muscle called extensor carpi ulnaris. This means it’s on the upper side of your forearm, straight up from your pinky. The spasm will likely be found about 2″ below the outside bone (not the point) of your elbow joint.

Press down hard and you’ll either find the bump or the pain, then hold it the same way you do with other spasms. If you have a problem going deep enough you may need some assistance. If you go to and look over that website, you’ll see that I developed an entire System for treating the muscles that have anything to do with your wrist and hand. There is a blue tool I developed, called the Julstro Tool (the names not that creative but it works) that is used to give focused pressure on the trigger points of the arm.

She followed through and found the relief she needed.

For more information on how you can eliminate pain caused by the strained extensor carpi ulnaris and other hand, wrist pain and numbness problems, go to 

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Pain Free Living Articles, Uncategorized

Side Stitch Pain Caused by Coughing

Side stitch pain feels like a pin is being pushed into the muscle between your ribs – and it hurts!  In fact, it’s enough to make you stop running if you’re out exercising. Or you’ll take very shallow breaths if your suddenly attacked by a side stitch pain.

The most common cause of side stitch pain is a spasm in your intercostal muscles, the tiny muscles that attach your ribs together.

When you take a breath in, your external intercostal muscles contract to make your rib cage expand, and your internal intercostal muscles contract so you can draw your ribs together and force the air out of your lungs.  This is a smooth movement, until you add something like heavy coughing, or rapid, deep breathing.

If, for example, you are having an allergic reaction to leaves molding in the fall, or you have bronchitis or a post-nasal drip, you may have bouts of uncontrolled coughing.

Or, if you are an athlete you may be panting after a challenging workout or run.

In both cases you are rapidly opening and closing your rib cage as your body quickly draws in more air into your lungs.  This rapid and repetitive movement can cause a spasm to form in your intercostal muscles. The spasm, a tiny knot in the muscle fibers, prevents those fibers from expanding as you try to draw in your breath.  And you feel the muscle tension as a side stitch pain.

side stitch pain treatment of intercostal muscles1.Using your fingertips, press directly into the side stitch pain point. Use you opposite hand to add strength to your movement.

2. Hold the point for 30 seconds and then take a slow, deep, breath so your rib cage expands fully.

Repeat this 2-3 times.


This simple treatment stops side stitch pain as soon as it happens so you can get back to breathing easily again. It’s easy to self-treat when you have just a little direction of where to go to find the pain, and how to do a self-treatment.

You can discover how to eliminate pain quickly using my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living  This book is a “how to guide” to the body, and will save you time and money, and most importantly, give you relief!

Wishing you well,


Julie Donnelly – The Pain-Relief Expert

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Runner's Pain, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , ,

Powerful Thigh Muscles Provide Sculling Strength and Speed in Olympics 2016

Andrew Campbell, Jr and Josh Konieczny

Powerful Thigh Muscles Provide Sculling Strength and Speed in Olympics 2016

By Julie Donnelly, The Pain-Relief Expert

Powerful Thigh muscles are a key to providing sculling strength. While exercise is vital, so is releasing the tension that forms in muscle fibers during exercise.  The recent 2016 Olympic games demonstrated strength and power in many of the sports, including one of my favorite sports, sculling.  Sculling exercises the entire body, especially the quadriceps – the thigh muscles.

Congratulations to USA Lightweight Men’s  Double Sculls competitors Andrew Campbell, Jr. and Josh Konieczny!

Powerful Thigh muscles provide sculling strength

Watching the Lightweight Men’s  Double Sculls competition (2:17:06) at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, it was clear that powerful thigh muscles are required to provide sculling strength and speed.




Sculling is a sport that uses every major muscle in the body and demonstrates the body at its finest.  As an American, I cheered loudly as the sculls were gliding through the water. Having had the honor of treating the USA team during their training season, I could really appreciate the strong and powerful thigh muscles that  brought Andrew and Josh to Brazil.

After winning over stiff competition in the USA, and having amazing times worldwide, Andrew and Josh raced to 5th place at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This is an incredible feat and they should be proud of their accomplishment.

I also want to congratulate the athletes from France (Gold), Ireland (Silver) and Norway (Bronze) for their accomplishment! It was a tight race, and each athlete was a joy to watch – especially since I’m a muscular therapist. I really am amazed to watch an athletes muscles, particularly their thigh muscles, working with so much power.

How to Release Tension and Increase Strength

Spasms in a powerful thigh muscle will prevent sculling or athletic strengthI’ve been teaching athletes how to do the Julstro Self-Treatments since 1997, and this simple treatment is great for releasing tension in your thigh muscles.

Spasms in your thigh will cause a long list of problems, including hip pain, low back pain, groin pain, sciatica, and knee pain. Plus it decreases your strength as you straighten your leg.  Obviously this is can be a problem for athletes who need all the strength they can muster.

To release the spasms that can inhibit strength and power in the thigh muscles, you can simply use a length of PVC pipe and press down on your thigh.  Slide (don’t roll) from the top of your thigh to just above your knee joint.  It will force the metabolic waste (hydrogen ions) out of the muscle fibers, and blood will be drawn into the muscle.

The race was exciting, and I hope that it helped to encourage young athletes to take up the sport of sculling, and to exercise to have strong shoulders and arms, and powerful thigh muscles.

If you love sculling, or any sport that requires strength and power, it takes more than just exercise to get in peak performance shape. You will benefit by also releasing the tension in muscles so they are flexible and have full range-of-motion. I’ll be happy to help you!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert



Sculling Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Groin Strain, Hip Pain, Knee Pain, Low Back Pain and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Carpal Tunnel Treatment for Common Symptoms – Part 2

Carpal Tunnel Treatment for Common Symptoms is Part 2 of my previous blog: Muscles Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms.  Technology is wonderful, but it has its limitations. I couldn’t use the same name twice (Search Engines consider that SPAM), even with “Part 2” added.

We’ve discussed the muscles and nerves in your neck, chest, and upper arm, and how they will impinge on the median nerve and refer burning and tingling into your wrist and hand.  The muscles we’re discussing in this blog not only will cause burning and tingling, but will also cause pain in your wrist and hand.  Plus, these muscles will put a strain on  your carpal tunnel and will impinge on the nerve as it travels through your carpal tunnel. Fortunately a simple treatment will release the tight muscles and take the pressure off the nerve.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment: Forearm and Hand

Carpal tunnel treatment for Extensor contraction releases a strain on the carpal bonesThe muscles on the top of your arm (B) are called the Extensors.

Your extensors originate at your elbow and insert into the carpal bones (back of your hand) and into your fingertips.

Your Flexor muscles (A) are on the underside of your forearm.

The flexors also originate at your elbow, they come down your forearm and merge into the tendon at your wrist. The tendons then go through your carpal tunnel and then insert into your hand and fingers.

When your hand is flat on a table and your extensors start to contract, you lift up your hand (B). But you can see that the flexors (A) on the underside of your forearm will need to lengthen to allow this movement.

When your flexors are tight (commonly from repetitive movements) they won’t lengthen to allow your extensors to pick up your hand, and the taut flexor tendons may trap your median nerve in your carpal tunnel. This is a major cause of carpal tunnel syndrome because the nerve is being trapped right in the carpal tunnel. It was one of the primary keys to my symptoms, and an important part of the carpal tunnel treatment protocol.

Why Muscle Tendons Cause Numbness in Your Fingers

Structures of the carpal tunnel treatmentAs you look at this graphic you’ll see the flexor tendons surrounding the median nerve as they all pass through the carpal tunnel.  Also, notice the carpal bones, which are where the extensor muscles attach.  Finally look at the thumb muscle called Opponens Pollicis. This muscle originates on the bridge to the carpal tunnel (called the Flexor Retinaculum), and when the muscle contracts you bring your thumb into the center of your palm.

The flexor retinaculum is the ligament that is severed during carpal tunnel release surgery.  As you look at how close the median nerve is to the flexor retinaculum you can see where a potential surgical mistake could severe the nerve. This accident disables the hand and isn’t reversible. Also, severing the flexor retinaculum means your thumb loses its base, and you lose strength

This is the reason I refused surgery and sought a different carpal tunnel treatment.

As I studied each muscle and saw how they each impacted the median nerve, I realized that if I released the spasms in each muscle that it would take the pressure off the nerve.  And, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened!

It took me about 90 minutes to figure this out (it will only take you 15 minutes to do all of the carpal tunnel treatments to yourself) but in just that short amount of time I released ALL of the pain and numbness in my hand and wrist.  I was beyond being thrilled — I saved my career!

Eventually I figured out how to put this entire process into a DVD program to teach people all over the world how to eliminate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. I even developed a specialized tool to help people get the correct pressure and focus for each spasm.

A Simple Carpal Tunnel Treatment for Your Thumb:

(Pictures and description are excerpts from The Julstro System for Hand/Wrist Pain and Numbness)

Carpal tunnel treatment for thumb musccle

Step 1:

To release the spasms in your thumb muscle, place your opposite elbow into the thick portion of your thumb as shown in the picture to the left.




Carpal tunnel treatment for thumb muscle 2Step 2:

Use your fingertips to guide your elbow along the muscle.  Move your elbow in a line from the center of your wrist to the base of your thumb.

Use sufficient pressure to really feel the muscle and the tender points which are spasms in the muscle fibers.

When you find a spasm, hold the pressure for 30 seconds and then deeply move back and forth a little bit.

If you are experiencing hand/wrist pain or numbness, before you make the decision to go for surgery it is worthwhile to read everything you can about muscles and numb fingers. You can’t undo surgery!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert


Julie Donnelly – The Pain-Relief Expert


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Posted by Julie Donnelly in hand and wrist pain and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Muscles Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms Caused By Tight Muscles!

In 1997 I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome: wrist pain, tingling and numb fingers. The pain and burning was horrible, it prevented me from even picking up a pencil or holding a glass. As a massage therapist it was devastating, my hands are my livelihood! I tried everything and finally had to close down my therapy practice because the pain was so severe. I knew I wasn’t going to go for surgery, but carpal tunnel syndrome was a hurdle that was pushing me out of work and I didn’t know where to turn.

Finally, I started to think of the logic of the body.  While everyone was looking at my wrist and forearm, the median nerve that causes the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t start in my arm, but where does it start?  Research showed that the nerve actually starts in your NECK!  Who would have thought!

I found the solution to my problem, and I’ve been bringing it to people worldwide ever since.

How Muscles in Your Neck Can Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms:

carpal tunnel syndrome caused by pressure on the median nerve

A bundle of nerves called the Brachial Plexus (see three lines in neck of drawing) comes out of your cervical vertebrae and at the top of your shoulder the fibers divide into three nerves:

  1.  The Median Nerve – which goes to your thumb and first two fingers
  2.  The Ulnar Nerve – which goes to your ring and pinky fingers
  3.  The Radial Nerve – which goes to your wrist



Your Scalenes muscle is in front of, and in back of the brachial plexus.

scalenes referred pain causing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in fingersWhen the scalenes are in spasm they put pressure on the bundle of nerves and it can cause tingling and numbness to be felt all the way to your fingers. The purple shading shows the referred pain pattern for the scalenes spasms. In my case this was the primary cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms I had in my thumb and first two fingers.

BTW, your scalenes also cause that burning feeling you get between your shoulder blades.  You are rubbing your back, but the cause of the pain is actually in your neck!

How Muscles in Your Chest and Upper Arm Can Cause the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

carpal tunnel syndrome caused by Scalenes and pecs minor

The bundle of nerves goes along the front of your body and at the top of your shoulder it breaks into the three nerves (listed above) and they go under a bone called the coracoid process (a part of your scapula/shoulder blade).

There are three muscles that attach to your coracoid process, (the biceps, pectoralis minor, and coracobrachialis). When any of them are in spasm they will pull the bone down onto the three nerves, causing tingling and numbness to radiate down your arm and into your wrist &/or hand. This is one of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, yet most medical practitioners don’t consider these muscles when searching for the cause of numbness in your fingers.


A Julstro Self-Treatment That Releases Tension in Your Shoulder and Off the Nerves to Your Hand:

Treating Biceps to Release Carpal Tunnel Syndrome SymptomsYou can self-treat your upper arm muscles that are putting pressure on the coracoid AND also on your shoulder joint.

Simply make a fist and press into your biceps, using your opposite hand to help push your elbow so you can go deeper into your biceps.

Hold the pressure for 15-30 seconds and then continue the pressure while you S-L-O-W-L-Y open your arm.  Release the pressure, bend your arm, and repeat 2-3 times.


End of Part 1 –

In the next Part I’ll show the muscles of your lower arm and hand and why they cause carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Plus you’ll get a self-treatment that is great for taking the pressure off your carpal tunnel.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert


Julie Donnelly – The Pain Relief Expert


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Thigh Muscle Pain Hampers Rowers

Thigh Muscle Pain Hampers Rower

Thigh Muscle Pain Hampers Rowers

Thigh Muscle Pain Hampers RowerThigh muscle pain can hamper a rowers ability to powerfully force his/her body back as a key part of the rowing pattern.

Movements are done simultaneously: as the thigh muscles are pushing the seat back, the rowers arms are pulling back on the oars.

It is the smooth interaction of the two movements that enable the rower to glide smoothly toward the finish line.

Thigh muscle pain is caused by repetitive strain injury to the quadriceps muscle fibers.  As the fibers are forcefully contracting while the rower is straightening out his/her legs, hydrogen ions, an acid, are formed.  The hydrogen ion buildup causes spasms to form in the thigh muscles, and pain is felt as the acid is being forced through the muscle fibers.

It is vital to force the toxins out of the thigh muscles in order to release the tension that is being placed on the pelvis and knees, and to stop the pain.

To complicate matters, because of the muscle attachments to the bones and joints, the thigh muscle will also cause pain to be felt in the hip, low back, and knees.

Thigh Muscle Pain Treatment

This is an easy treatment to do, and one that uses a strange “tool”….. a 12” length of PVC pipe.

treating thigh muscle pain with a PVC pipe Start by sitting and holding the PVC pipe easily in your hands. Don’t grip it too tightly or you’ll end up hurting your forearm muscles.

Begin at the top of your thigh muscle and press, don’t roll, all the way down to your knee.

The most important thigh muscle is called the Rectus Femoris. (Go to #13 on graphic shown in this link)

This thigh muscle not only has pain caused by its own repetitive strain, but also because muscles  in your low back can be rotating your pelvis and causes a domino-effect that shortens the muscle.

After you do 2-3 passes along the length of the muscle, stay on top of one of the spasms (you’ll feel the bumps as you go down your leg), and just press while slightly rotating the PVC pipe to force the toxins out of the muscle fibers.

This treatment, and MANY others, is demonstrated in my book Treat Yourself to Pain-Free LivingOr you can get the eBook version and an excellent, unique, stretching program that incorporates self-treatment with Yoga stretches by purchasing Focused Flexibility Training.

Thigh muscle pain, or any other muscle-joint pains, won’t go away on their own!  If you have pain, you need to be proactive and force the toxins out of the muscles, and then safely stretch the fibers back to their proper length.  It’s easy-to-do, and you’ll be amazed at how good you’ll feel.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Knee Pain, sports injury and tagged , , , ,

Chronic Headaches and Neck Pain

holding head forward can cause chronic headaches and neck pain

Chronic Headaches and Neck Pain Can Ruin Your Day!

Actually, chronic headaches will do more than ruin your day, it can cause you to slow down so much that you stop doing all the sports you enjoy, and can have a serious impact on your career.

Yet, when the medical profession is searching for solutions to chronic headaches and neck pain, muscles are rarely considered.  This is a major oversight.  In fact, muscles cause a high percentage of chronic headaches, and almost all neck pains.  The good news is, they are relatively simple to self-treat successfully!

chronic headaches and neck pain caused by the levator scapulae muscleFirst let’s take a look at your neck so it will be clear why muscles can cause chronic headaches.

Your cervical vertebrae start at the base of your skull. C1 is called “the Atlas” because it holds up your skull just as Atlas held up the world.

C2 has a bone in it that comes through the center of C1. The bone is called the “dens” and your skull sits on the point of it.  It is because of this arrangement that you can turn your head left and right.

These two vertebrae are key to chronic headaches that are so severe they can be blinding.

Take a look at the muscle that is labeled “levator scapulae.”  Nicknamed “the shrug muscle,” because it lifts up your shoulders, it originates on C1-4, although the greatest problem is with the C1-2 points.  As your levator scapulae muscle gets tight, it pulls the two vertebrae to the side and down.  This causes the bone to press into your spinal cord at the very base of your skull where it exits from your brain and begins its journey down to your toes.

The bone pressing into your spinal cord will cause horrific chronic headaches.  And, as the muscle is also putting a strain on your shoulder, you will feel pain and tension right where your neck meets the top of your shoulder.

Chronic Headaches Caused by Poor Posture

holding head forward can cause chronic headaches and neck pain Chronic headaches are also caused by a posture that is common lately because of looking down at our cell phones and computers.

Notice the graphics on the left, and then imagine the 42 lb head on the right not only putting a strain on the entire cervical spine, but since you are looking down, it is also having the heavy skull putting a twist onto the first two cervical vertebrae.

You can imagine what is happening to your spinal cord under these circumstances. The pressure is severe, and a chronic headache will result.

Chronic Headache Treatment That Works!

The following treatments and pictures are found in Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living. This book is in eBook and printed book formats and covers treatments from your head to your feet.


chronic headache treatment 1 Lean your head back and grasp the muscle at the back of your neck.

This is easier to do when you have a headache as it will be thick and tight, but if you want to work at preventing a chronic headache, you’ll need to move your head around so the muscle will even be felt.

If you don’t have a headache, just take your flat fingertips and press directly into the muscle fiber.  Hold the pressure for 30 seconds, let go, and then press again.


Chronic Headache treatment 2This Julstro self-treatment can be done whether you have a chronic headache or not.  Just take the three middle fingers of your opposite hand (ie: treating the left side of your neck so use the three fingers on your right hand and press directly into your tight muscle.

Hold the pressure for 30 seconds and then just move 1-finger width down the muscle and start over again.

Go from the base of your skull all the way to the top of your shoulder.  If you have a chronic headache the muscle will stand out and you’ll have no problem finding it.



Work on both sides of your neck, even if the chronic headache pain is only on one side of your head.

Stretch the muscles by holding the pressure on the muscle and then bringing your head down toward your chest.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert

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Sacroiliac Joint Pain – SI Joint Won’t Hold An Adjustment

by Julie Donnelly – The Pain-Relief Expert

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Cause:

I received a call from a client who was distressed because her son has had terrible sacroiliac joint pain (SI Joint) that refuses to hold a chiropractic adjustment. He’s had it for several years and it’s turning his life into a nightmare because he can’t do any of the sports that he enjoys, and he doesn’t see an end to his pain.

sacroiliac joint pain caused by misalignment of sacrum and ilium bones

The sacroiliac joint is the point where the sacrum (shown on left in white at the bottom of the spine) and the ilium (shown on left in red) join together (area in yellow circle in photo on left).  When the muscles that surround the joint are either too tight (in spasm) or too loose, or if you have an accident, the joint can be pulled out of alignment. This misalignment will cause pain in the immediate area, and also cause symptoms that are similar to low back pain &/or sciatica.

Visualize the overlapping area moving in a manner that will separate the two bones and you can imagine how this will not only strain the sacroiliac joint, but will also cause a misalignment for your hip joint, and the pubic joint.

You will feel this as low back pain, SI joint pain, hip pain, or groin pain.  It will also refer down your leg and could potentially go past your knee and into your foot.


The problem with adjustments that don’t hold, whether it’s an adjustment for the sacroiliac  joint pain, sciatica, back pain, shoulder pain, or anything else, is that the muscles that are pulling the bones out of alignment aren’t being released prior to the adjustment.

Think of it this way, if you had a length of line with a stick tied in the middle, and then you pulled one side of the line to tug the stick in that direction, you couldn’t move the stick back to the middle until you released the pull on the line. This is exactly what is happening here, the muscle is pulling on the joint, the chiropractor (or other healthcare practitioner) is pushing the joint back into place, but the tight muscle is just pulling it right back out again. This can go on and on, and until the tension is released in the muscle, it’s not going to go back into place and stay there.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Treatment:

2004-01-01 00.00.00The first step in the treatment is to take a ball, such as the Julstro Perfect Ball, and put it directly on your sacroiliac joint.

Ease your body down onto the ball gently. It’s important to always stay in the “hurts so good” level, it should be “uncomfortable” but not sharp pain.  If you feel sharp pain, move the ball to a spot nearby, but not directly on the joint.

Keep moving the ball around the entire area to release the tension in all of the muscles.  Stay on each point for about 30 seconds.

When you have released the painful points and it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything anymore, put the ball directly on your SI  joint and bring your same-side leg up, resting your lower leg on the thigh of your opposite leg.  It will be the same movement as crossing your leg if you were sitting in a chair.  Your intention is to add an additional stretch to the muscles that surround your sacroiliac joint.


This treatment may take several times before the muscles totally relax and your SI joint is no longer being pulled out of alignment.  This is the best time to see your chiropractor as you’ll be able to get an adjustment that will last.  You may even find that releasing the tension in the muscles will allow the joint to move back into alignment by itself.

Wishing you well,

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Julie's Notes and tagged , , , ,