Pain-free Living Blog with Julie Donnelly

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Shermer’s Neck and Ultracycling

Shermer's neck is a painful condition where the neck muscles become so tight that they lose all strength and can no longer lift your head up.

Shermer’s Neck: An Ultracyclist’s Nightmare!  Ultracycling causes the head to be pulled back in order for the cyclist to see ahead. This causes the muscles to shorten and creates a repetitive strain injury of the posterior neck muscles

Shermer’s neck is a condition where the muscles of the back of your neck become so tight that they lose the ability to hold your head up.

Do you love to cycle?  Perhaps you’re an ultracyclist and ride for many hours very week.  If you are, you may already know about Shermer’s neck.

As you are well-aware, an ultracyclist leans forward, called the “aerodynamic position.” You are slicing through the wind and you aren’t losing speed when the wind hits your chest.

Shermer’s Neck and the Non-Athlete

Shermer's neck can be caused by working in a job that has you looking up for hoursDo you do anything that has you look up for hours, such as being a house painter? Having your computer screen too high can force you to have your head tilted while working.

If so, Shermer’s neck can still affect you, and seriously impact your life. Fortunately, non-athletes don’t have as severe a problem as the ultracyclists

Why Does Looking Up Cause Shermer’s Neck

Your posterior neck muscles primarily originate at the middle of your back, along your spine. They go up your back and neck, and insert into either your cervical spine, or the bottom of your skull. When these muscles contract they pull your head back.  When the muscles of the posterior neck contract, if you are standing, you’ll be looking at the ceiling. If you’re a cyclist,your posterior neck muscles contract in order for you to look forward.

How to Treat the Muscle that Causes Shermer’s Neck

To treat the muscle that causes Shermer's neck, tilt your head back and pinch the muscle that is right next to your spine.The primary muscles are:

To treat the muscles that cause a repetitive strain injury in your neck, tilt your head back and pinch the muscle that is right next to your spine.


To treat the posterior neck muscles for Shermer's neck, put your fingers directly onto the muscle and press down as deeply as possible. Hold the pressure for about 30 seconds.



Next, press the three middle fingers of your opposite hand deeply into the muscle fibers, going from the base of your scalp to as far as you can reach down the center of your back, right alongside your spinal column.

While pressing deeply, slowly lower your chin toward your chest so you are stretching the muscle fibers.  Don’t let your hand be sliding on your neck or you will miss the stretch.




Do both self-treatments on both sides of your neck.


Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living shows self traetments for headaches and moreYou can find the full treatments for your entire neck and upper back by going to my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living. This book has treatments for your entire body, from your head to your feet.  YOU are your own Best Therapist!  Stop pain quickly and easily with self-treatments you can do anytime, anyplace.

Wishing you well,


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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Neck Pain and tagged , , , ,

Sore Muscles? An Epsom Salt Bath Works!

Epsom Salt – An Inexpensive “Miracle Cure”

Epsom Salt is an old remedy that until recently has been overlooked by modern medicine. For hundreds of years people have used it for relieving sore muscles, healing cuts, drawing out inflammation, and treating colds.  To many people this has long been a miracle cure, the first “go-to” for pain relief. Research has proven why Epsom Salt works so well, and how to use it so you benefit the most.

Why Epsom Salt Works

Epsom Salt is a combination of magnesium and sulfate. When you are under stress – and who doesn’t have stress in their life – your body becomes depleted in magnesium. Magnesium is a key component in a mood-elevating chemical of the brain called serotonin. Serotonin creates relaxation and a feeling of calm so it reduces stress, helps you sleep better, improves your ability to concentrate will improve.and it lessens the tension of irritability.  It is also a component in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which produces energy to the cells.

The magnesium in Epsom Salt regulates the activity of over 325 enzymes, helps prevent hardening of the arteries, and is beneficial for muscle and nerve function.  Sulfates improve the absorption of nutrients and flushes toxins out of the body.

Massage and Epsom Salt – a “Marriage Made in Heaven!”

Every month I explain how massaging one area of your body will help eliminate or reduce pain. This blog teaches many self-treatments for a long list of aches and pains. Massage has been proven to help with:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle aches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Sports injuries
  • TMJ
  • Headaches
  • and much, much more!

Massage will also force toxins out of your muscles and improve circulation.  Epsom Salt baths are beneficial after a massage because it will remove the toxins out of the body. In the past I had heard that a 15 minute bath was sufficient, but that has changed.  Recently I read an article that explained it takes 40 minutes of soaking to make the transfer complete. Toxins are drawn out and magnesium enters into the body.

Self-Massage is Convenient and Easy-to-Do

It’s wonderful to go to a qualified massage therapist and relax while the spasms are worked out of your muscles. However, if you have a stressful job or you love to exercise, you can’t go to a therapist as frequently as you should.  That’s where self-massage becomes a life-saver.

Before taking an Epsom Salt bath do the techniques demonstrated inTreat Yourself to pain-free living to release the spasms that are causing joint and muscle painBefore relaxing in your bath do the techniques demonstrated in Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living to release the spasms that are causing joint and muscle pain.

As you untie the “knots,” you are releasing toxins into your blood stream and lymphatic system.  A relaxing, 40 minute, soak in a tub of comfortably hot water and 2 cups of Epsom Salt, will eliminate the toxins from your body.

Life is more stressful than ever before, and you deserve a relaxing break.  Massage and Epsom Salt baths are the perfect beginning to a restful nights sleep!  Plus, the benefits of both massage and Epsom Salt will improve your health and vitality.

Wishing you well,

    Signature of Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert




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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Joint Pain

Your Sleeping Position Can Be The Cause of Headaches!

Why Your Sleeping Position May Be Causing Headaches

A Sleeping position that has your head tilted puts pressure on your spinal cord and will cause headaches. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times, and the reasoning is so logical it’s easy to understand.

Your spinal cord runs from your brain, through each of your vertebrae, down your arms and legs. Nerves pass out of the vertebrae and go every cell in your body, including each of your organs. When you are sleeping it is important to keep your head, neck, and spine in a horizontal plane. so you aren’t straining the muscles that insert into your vertebrae.

Your sleeping position can cause headaches because the cervical vertebrae shift and press on your spinal cord.

The graphic above is a close-up of your skull and the cervical (neck) vertebrae. Your nerves are shown in yellow, and your artery is shown in red.  Consider what happens if you hold your head to one side for hours. You can notice that the nerves and artery will likely be press upon. Also, since your spinal cord comes down the inside of the vertebrae, it will also be impinged.

In 2004 the Archives of Internal Medicine  published an article stating that 1 out of 13 people have morning headaches. It’s interesting to note that the article never mentions the spinal cord being impinged by the vertebrae. That’s a major oversight!

Muscles merge into tendons, and the tendons insert into the bone.  As you stayed in the tilted position for hours, the muscles actually shorten to the new length.  Then you try to turn over, but the short muscles are holding your cervical tightly, and they can’t lengthen.

The weight of your head pulls on the vertebrae, putting even more pressure onto your spinal cord and nerves.  Plus, the tight muscles are pulling on the bones, causing pain on the bone.

Your Pillow is Involved in Your Sleeping Position and Headaches

Headaches caused by your sleeping position can be caused by muscles pulling on your cervical vertebrae, just like pulling your hair will hurt your skull. The analogy I always use is; just as pulling your hair hurts your scalp, the muscle pulling on the tendons hurts the bone where it inserts.  In this case it is your neck muscles putting a strain on your cervical bones.

As your head is tilted up, your spine presses into your spinal cord and will cause headaches from this sleeping position.

For example, If you sleep on your left side and your pillow is too thick your head will be tilted up toward the ceiling. This position tightens the muscles on the right side of your neck.

sleeping position causes headaches when falling asleep at your desk

Dozing off while sitting in a car waiting for someone to arrive, or while working for hours at your desk. The pictures above show a strain on the neck by falling asleep without any support on your neck. Both of these people will wake up with a headache, and with stiffness in their neck.

Good sleeping position keeps your neck and spine straight and prevents headaches

The best sleeping position to prevent headaches is to have your pillow adjusted so your head, neck, and spine are in a horizontal line. Play with your pillows, putting two thin pillows into one case if necessary. If your pillow is too thick try to open up a corner and pull out some of the stuffing.

Sleeping on Your Back

If you sleep on your back and have your head on the mattress, your spine is straight. All you need is a little neck pillow for support, and a pillow under your knees.

sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping position for headaches and moreStomach sleeping is the worst sleeping position for not only headaches, but so many other aches and pains. It’s a tough habit to break, but it can be done. This sleeping position deserves its own blog, which I will do in the future.

Treating the Muscles That Cause Headaches

All of the muscles that originate or insert into your cervical vertebrae, and many that insert into your shoulder and upper back, need to be treated.  The treatments are all taught in Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, in the neck and shoulder chapters.  Here is one treatment that will help you get relief…

how to self-treat an important muscle that causes headaches. Put a ball into the top of your shoulder, and then press your shoulder into a door frame or corner of a wall

Take either a tennis ball, or the Perfect Ball (which really is Perfect because it has a solid center and soft outside) and press into your shoulder as shown.  You are treating a muscle called Levator Scapulae which pulls your vertebrae out of alignment when it is tight.

Hold the press for about 30 seconds, release, and then press again.

Your pillow is a key to neck pain and headaches caused by your sleeping position.  It’s worth the time and energy to investigate how you sleep, and correct your pillow.  I believe this blog will help you find the solution and will insure you have restful sleep each night.

Wishing you well,

Signature of Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert

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Posted by Julie Donnelly in Neck Pain, Uncategorized

Frozen Shoulder – A Complicated Condition Requiring a LOT of Treatments!

Frozen Shoulder pain

Frozen Shoulder and Pain

Frozen shoulder is a very complicated condition that can last for a very long time. Recently I’ve had a client coming to me for relief of a very painful shoulder problem.  “Mary” is suffering from “Frozen Shoulder.”  It doesn’t sound so bad, yet the simple diagnosis hides the fact that this condition causes more than just pain. Mary’s shoulder joint was so tight that she had minimal movement in any direction, and sleeping was a nightmare!  Regardless of which way she slept the ache would wake her several times a night, often in tears from pain.

Physical therapy wasn’t helping at all. Her frozen shoulder kept getting worse. The only relief she had was by taking strong pain-killing drugs. The all-too-real fear of opioid addiction caused her to only take the drugs when the pain was unbearable.  She is a hairstylist so this situation was having a very negative effect on her income and future. On a more personal note, it certainly wasn’t helping her intimate relationship with her husband. She was getting frantic for a solution.

The client of a co-worker had come to my office when she was in pain, and she gave Mary my card.  That was the beginning of a long journey to relief.  Fortunately, it was a journey that is helping her more than she’d ever imagined possible.

Frozen Shoulder – The Cause

Frozen Shoulder joint pain is caused by multiple musclesYour shoulder has more muscle attachments than any other joint in your body.

Several muscles don’t attach right into your shoulder joint. As each muscle pulls on your arm or shoulder blade, your shoulder moves.

This is the reason that your shoulder and arm can move  in so many directions.   More than 15 muscles need to all work together to enable you to have a full range-of-motion with your shoulder and arms.

Frozen shoulder is caused by several, or many, of these muscles all being held taut because of multiple spasms.  When one muscle contracts, another must lengthen to allow for the contraction.  For example, consider how your shoulder moves when you play a sport. While swimming the muscles of your chest are pulling your shoulders/arms forward,  and your back muscles need to lengthen. And, when you want to reach back to take a tennis swing, the muscles of your chest must lengthen.  Or, when you want to lift your arm up to hit a volleyball , the muscles that bring your arm down must lengthen. Then you reach down to pick up the ball, the muscles on top of your shoulder must lengthen.  It’s always a matter of opposing muscles both needing to do their part in order for you to move your shoulder and arm.

Frozen Shoulder – The Treatment

Actually there are too many treatments to do into detail here. If you have been receiving Pain-Free Living  for some time, you have many of the treatments in previous blogs.

Basically, if you have stiffness in your shoulder you need to look at the movements you can’t make. Next, look to see which muscle needs to be lengthening in order to make that movement. This is the muscle that needs to be treated to start to release your frozen shoulder.

Infraspinatus self-treatment for relief of frozen shoulder pain

One treatment you can do is for your infraspinatus muscle. This is the muscle that pulls your arm back.

Put a ball on the belly  of the muscle, which is at the center of your shoulder blade, and apply pressure. Hold the pressure for about a minute, release for 5 seconds, and repeat.  Do this several times and then stretch that muscle.



To help people eliminate pain and stretch safely I created a program called Focus Flexibility Training. This DVD program shows you how to treat all of the muscles of your shoulder, and a whole lot more. When it comes to Frozen Shoulder, you’ll ultimately need to treat most, if not all of your shoulder muscles.  It’s not a fast treatment, but it does work!

Wishing you well,

Signature of Julie Donnelly - The Pain Relief Expert


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

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 frozen 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

Thigh Muscle Pain Hampers Rower

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!


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.

Skulling requires strong thighs



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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