Recovering From A Meniscus Tear

Regain Full Flexibility And Get Back To The Sports You Love 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

Healthy HeartWhile February is the shortest month of the year, to our northern family and friends it is the longest, seemingly endless, month.

Where I live in Sarasota Florida, winter brings us near-perfect days and cooler nights.  It’s my favorite time of year.  And of course, we all celebrate the holiday of love – Valentine’s Day!

Just a bit of trivia: In 1868, Richard Cadbury released the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates, followed in 1902 with the first conversation hearts from the New England Confectionery Company. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland created the first commercial Valentine’s Day cards in the United States. Hallmark first offered Valentine’s Day cards in 1913 and began producing them in 1916.  (Thanks to Wikipedia for all this interesting info).

What Is A Meniscus?

One of my clients asked me to talk about a medial meniscus tear, and that is a topic that is “near and dear to me” because I had a severed medial meniscus from a ski accident.

The meniscus is something that many people aren’t familiar with, unless they have had a meniscus tear, then you definitely know all about it.  It hurts!

All of the major joints are complicated with many ligaments and other structures, each having an important function.

The knee joint is straightforward.

The lateral (outside of knee joint) and medial (inside of knee joint) meniscus cushion the femur (thigh) bone and tibia (shin bone) so your knee can bend and straighten without wearing down the bone.

Ligaments that surround the knee joint hold the bones together and form a tight, secure joint.

How Does A Meniscus Tear?

MeniscusTrauma to the knee joint, especially a twisting movement, will tear the meniscus.

In 1995 I had a ski accident where I severed the medial meniscus, but I didn’t have insurance at the time. I paid the $1000 for an MRI to find out why my knee was in so much pain, and why my knee felt like it was going to totally separate.

It turned out that I not only severed my left medial meniscus, I also tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), The ACL holds your bones together from front to back. When this tore, I felt like whenever stepped down my upper leg still kept going forward.  It was a scary feeling, I felt like my leg was going to come apart at my knee. Yikes!

Recovering From A Meniscus Tear

I need to remind you that I am not a doctor, nor do I have medical training to advise you about what to do.  This message isn’t meant to replace your physician’s advice. 

When I found myself with a severed medial meniscus and a torn ACL, and I didn’t have medical insurance, I didn’t know what to do!  Fortunately, I was working along with Zev Cohen, MD.  My therapy practice was in Dr Cohen’s office, and he would often ask me to see one of his patients who were in pain when he knew it wasn’t caused by any systemic or visceral problems.  I totally respected Dr. Cohen because he truly wanted his patients to get better, even if it meant he was going to bring in a massage therapist!

As a result, when Dr. Cohen told me that my meniscus would heal with scar tissue, I believed him. And it worked!  The only glitch was the scar tissue made my knee stiff, so I started to do a movement that I believed would stretch the scar tissue enough so I could bend my knee properly. And that worked too!

Regain Full Flexibility And Get Back To The Sports You Love

A Stretch for AFTER Your Meniscus Heals 

Caution: Do Not do this stretch until your knee is completely healed. 

Stand with your feet directly under your hips. Hold on to a closed door, being sure you’re on the side of the door that pushes out, so you are pulling it shut as you do the stretch.

While keeping your knees straight up from your ankle, squat down, stopping when you start to feel pain in your knee.  Stay there, and then go just a little bit further.  Don’t push, it’s better to go slowly so your muscles stretch safely.  Scar tissue is really dense, it doesn’t stretch easily (if at all) so you need to slowly allow the scar tissue to loosen.

I can’t guarantee that this will work for you but let me tell you what happened to me.  I was doing this stretch multiple times a day, stopping when it would be too painful – or when I just ran out of time. Then one day – success!

One day I was squatting down and suddenly something released, and I ended up sitting on the floor with my knees totally bent!

Since then, I’ve been able to get back to skiing, and I have ZERO pain!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Knee Pain

What Causes Knee Pain? 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Closing Out the Old Year And Starting A New One

Walking FastI hope that 2022 was kind to you and your family.  Covid seemed to come and go, with new strains popping up every time we turned around.  What a year!

In December the foods all seemed to be fattening – delicious for sure, but fattening.  Which brings me to the topic of the month.  Maybe you are trying to walk off some of the extra calories you put on last month.

Walking will help burn the calories, but it can also come with aches and pains from muscles getting used repetitively.

This month I want to focus on the pain you feel on the outside of your knee after several days of walking more than your body is used to. It can reduce your walks to a slow hobble at best. And that isn’t going to burn off any extra calories.

What Causes Knee Pain?

The muscle I want to talk about this month is Tensor Fascia Lata (called TFL for short).

If you make a fist with both hands and then put them on your hips, you are right on top of the TFL.  A small muscle, the TFL attaches to a very long tendon called the iliotibial band (ITB).

This tendon is blamed for pain on the outside of your knee, and while it does insert there so it causes pain when it is tight, it’s only tight because of the TFL.

Sounds like you’re going in circles but let me explain.

The TFL is responsible for stabilizing your knee when you are standing on one foot.  You don’t think about it, but you are on one foot with every step to take!

You can feel the muscle contract by pressing your fingertips into the muscle on each hip, and then move from one leg to the other. You’ll feel the muscle tighten.

The repetitive movement causes the muscle to shorten, and it pulls up on the ITB.  This will cause tension to be put on the insertion point at your knee and causes pain. It will also limit range-of-motion when you are walking.

It’s interesting that most people don’t feel the pain in their hip, but they definitely feel it on the outside of their knee.

Relief From Knee Pain 

If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your knee while walking, your Tensor Fascia Lata muscle is probably too tight. Here is how to treat your TFL muscle.

Place the ball as shown in this picture.

Move around a little bit until you find the tight spot.  It will be painful.

Only add enough pressure that it “hurts so good,” and then stay there for 30 seconds.  Release the pressure. Repeat 2-3 times until it doesn’t hurt.

Zoom Consultations 

Almost every month I have been showing you how to do a self-treatment that I’ve developed.  And, as you know, I’ve written books that have all the self-treatments, including many that I don’t put into this newsletter.

However, your specific situation my require more than just the basics that I show here in the newsletter.

You can still get help!

I’ve been doing Zoom consultations for several years, and they really work well.

In fact, you get instruction that is specific to your needs, and often I’ll demonstrate the movement, and I always make sure you are doing it correctly.

Work directly with me by going to

A picture is worth 1000 words – and a Zoom consultation is priceless!

Next Month: Bunion Relief 

We’ll be looking at how muscles can pull on the bones that protrude at the base of your big toe and become a bunion.

Wishing you and your family a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Plantar Fasciitis Pain

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis Pain? 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Merry Christmas

Christmas GiftI love the Christmas season. The colors, the smells, the sounds of music. I’m a vegan so turkey isn’t happening for me, but the array of deliciously prepared vegetables, and the variety of desserts always make me excited for this month to get underway!

We give so much to others, especially during this season, that I want to remind you to take care of yourself too.  Like they say on the airplane, ”Put on your own oxygen mask first!”  One of the best gifts you can give to those you love, is a healthy and happy you!

Eliminate the aches and pains that can make you feel grumpy, and if you have someone who could benefit from eliminating pain, please feel free to send them my way.  That includes people who don’t live near me. I will give you information on how to set up Zoom consultations below. I’ll be happy to help you.

I hope you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

It has been a beautiful time for being outdoors the past couple of months, whether you live here in Florida, or any of the northern states. With the cooler, dryer weather, runners are back out on the road, which can lead to our topic of the month.  Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is felt in the arch of the foot and can hamper, or even stop, runners from enjoying their sport.

The good news is I’ve found that there are four muscles that are key to releasing the pain in your arch. And they are easy to self-treat with just a little direction.  These muscles are:

The calf muscles:



Gastrocenmius & Soleus. These muscles both merge into your Achilles tendon and pull up on your heel bone so you can stand on your toes.




The Tibialis Anterior Muscle:



This muscle is on the outside of your shin bone.  It inserts into the inside of your arch and rolls your foot out toward your little toe.




The Peroneal Muscles: 

Actually  TWO muscles that are on top of each other with both of them going along the outside of your shin bone,and  behind your ankle.  One inserts into the long bone on the outside of your foot, and the other goes across your arch, inserting into the long bone on the inside of your arch.

That may sound a little confusing, but if it does, take a look at the muscle by doing an internet search and it will be clear.

Together these insertion points pull the outside of your foot UP so your roll in toward your arch.

Relief From Plantar Fasciitis Pain 

The important point to consider is that all four of these muscles insert into the bones that form your arch.

When your calf muscles are tight they are pulling back on your heel bone, but since your arch muscles originate on your heel bone, they are being stretched backward.

When the Tibialis Anterior muscle is pulling on the long bone on the inside of your arch, it’s causing pain on that bone so you feel pain in your arch.

When the Peroneals are pulling toward the outside of your foot, you again feel pain along that bone.

This all sounds confusing but just think about your  arch being pulled in three different directions: to the outside, to the inside, and back toward your heel.  Of course you’re going to have pain in your arch!

It would take the length of a long article to go into the details of how to treat each of these muscles so I’m only going to show pictures of how to treat the muscles on the front of, and next to your shin.

Use either the Perfect Ball that I sell on my website:, or a used tennis ball.

Kneel on the floor as shown in the picture to the left and place the ball to the outside of your shin bone.

Move your leg forward so the ball rolls down toward your ankle.  If you start to feel a cramp in your arch, just curl your toes as shown in this picture.

You’ll find a tender spot about midway down the muscle.  This is the muscle spasm that is putting pressure on the inside of your arch.

Repeat until it no longer hurts.

To treat your Peroneals, sit as shown in the picture on the right. Place the ball as shown in the picture and put your hand so it presses your leg directly into the ball.

Move your leg so the ball rolls down the outside of your leg toward your ankle.


Be sure to always move your hand so it stays on top of the ball.


You’ll find a tender spot about midway down your leg.  Stay on the point for about 15 seconds and continue to roll down your leg.


Repeat until the muscle no longer hurts.

Next month I’ll be talking about Achille’s Tendonitis.  The treatment for the calf muscles is the same as you would use for Plantar Fasciitis, so stay tuned…

Zoom Consultations 

This past month I worked with two people via Zoom.  Both were successful at getting a total resolution to their issue.  I’ll tell you about them next month, but in one case it was a sudden attach of severe back pain at prevented the man from even getting out of bed.  In the other case, it was a young woman who is a sub-elite runner who had been in pain for three years, preventing her from running.

I’m happy to say in both cases the individual was able to be up and about in one case instantly, and in the other case it took 3 days for a complete reversal of the painful problem.

If you know anyone, anywhere in the world, who is in pain, please let them know that they can find a solution that isn’t offered by traditional pain-relief practitioners.  They can read more about it by going to and searching on the shopping cart for Zoom Consultations.

Here’s To Your Health 

There is a tremendous amount of information on two of my websites: and  I believe you’ll find a lot of answers by going through those sites, and by looking at the books and video programs that I’ve developed over the years.

There is a saying “God helps those who help themselves.”  These websites and my books are the tools you can use to help yourself to Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief Without Surgery

How To Release Tight Muscles That Cause Carpal Tunnel

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

Fall, Glorious Fall

I love Florida, but I must say I really miss the changing of the leaves like I enjoyed when I lived in New York.  October was magical!  The trees painting a picture of red, gold, maroon, yellow, and green, and the smells that are so familiar to anyone who has ever lived in the north.

Fires burning to heat chilly homes, apple cider, baking pies and cookies because we could get back into the kitchen as the weather cooled down.  And of course, Halloween.

The world has changed so much.  Remember how we could go out in costume with our friends, no adults needed, and go from door to door, shouting “Trick or Treat!”  We’d come home with a pillowcase (or plastic pumpkin) filled with candy.  Such sweet memories.

In Florida we are entering our most wonderful time of year. It’s starting to get cooler, the humidity is going down, and hurricane season is almost over. Hooray!  It’s great to be outdoors again!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – It’s Not Just In Your Wrist

In 1997 I learned a serious consequence of having carpal tunnel syndrome – I had to shut down my therapy practice. I went to doctors, physical therapy, and massage, yet nothing worked. The pain just kept getting worse.

I couldn’t pick up a pen or open a door.  I couldn’t work. What would you do if suddenly you couldn’t use your hand because the pain was so great?

Happily, I was able to figure out which muscles were actually causing the problem, and after releasing the tension I was quickly out of pain.

It’s complicated, but incredibly logical.

The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

carpal tunnel syndromeFor me, it eventually felt like someone was cutting my wrist with a razor blade, and I couldn’t even pick up a pencil or hold a glass.

If you’re like me, your symptoms came on slowly.  I had a twinge, like an electric shock in my wrist or fingers.  Nothing serious and I’d just shake it off.  Perhaps you’ve done the same thing.

Gradually it happened more frequently, and the intensity increased.  I was heading into a problem that almost ended my career.

While I was told I had CTS and I needed to have surgery, I knew that scar tissue would grow over the median nerve, and I could end up in worse condition than where I was already.

I was forced by necessity to find a solution. I concentrated on the path of the median because it is this nerve that is key to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Median Nerve Pathway

It all starts with pressure on the median nerve.


The median nerve starts in your neck, innervating your arm and hand. When it is pressed upon it will cause burning and numbness somewhere along its path, especially into your wrist, thumb and first two fingers.

The Opponens Pollicis Muscle

The nerve passes under and through several arm muscles, through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, and finally a muscle of your thumb called the opponens pollicis muscle impinges on the nerve.

The tight muscles entrap the median nerve, but they also put a strain on your wrist and hand.  The analogy I use is pulling your hair and your scalp hurts. In the same way, the muscle pulls on the insertion points on your wrist and hand, and you feel pain.

I’m not trying to make anyone a muscular therapist, so I’m not mentioning the Latin names.  If you have the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and if you’re interested and would like more information, please contact me.

My experience showed me that I had to treat each muscle from my neck to my hand several times every day. My clients were the catalyst for my sharing the self-treatment process that has reversed the symptoms of CTS for hundreds of people over the years.

One Treatment That Helps

There are six muscle groups that need to be treated for the release of the median nerve.

As I worked on myself, I discovered how they all needed to be fully released or the relief was temporary.  Then again, at that point I welcomed any relief, regardless of how short-lived.

The following treatment is for the muscle of your thumb, called “opponens pollicis.” This muscle pulls your thumb into the center of your palm.

An important factor is the muscle originates on the ligament that goes across the top of the carpal tunnel. When it gets tight it is pulling hard on the ligament and it presses down onto the median nerve.  This causes your thumb and first two fingers to go numb.

Bend your middle finger of the working hand.

Press the knuckle into the thick muscle at the base of your thumb.

Close the fingers of the hand you are treating so you can direct your thumb. This is an important step, or your knuckle will keep flipping over the muscle.

Move deeply in a direction that goes from your thumb to the middle of your wrist.

If you find as especially painful point, stay on it for 15-30 seconds.


How To Release Tight Muscles That Cause Carpal Tunnel

As I mentioned above there are six muscle groups that need to be treated to release the tension on the median nerve.

I realized that the only people who were benefiting from the treatment I developed were people who lived no more than 25 miles away from my office.

As a result, I hired a videographer and asked Zev Cohen, MD to join with me to explain the entire process.  It’s easy to do as you watch the DVD (also available as an MP4) and use the specialized tool I developed since many people can’t do it the way I did it for myself.

There’s also a workbook with still pictures of all the    treatments, and a chart that shows exactly where to press.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can seriously alter your day-to-day living!  Yet it can be reversed in as little time as one-hour!

Please share this information with anyone you know who is suffering from hand/wrist pain and numbness.

For more information go to:

Coming In November

Foot pain can stop you in your tracks, regardless of whether you are a runner, or you just like to stroll along a garden path.

The discussion in November will be about foot pain that is diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Shoulder Pain

A Simple Self-Treatment For The Infraspinatus Muscle

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

This summer has been HOT! HOT! HOT!

HotHigh temperature records were broken not just in the USA, but all over the world!  The funny thing is it was sometimes hotter up north than down here in Florida.  A snowbird client came in several weeks ago and told me they came back to Florida because they don’t have central air in their house up north (never needed it before).  That’s pretty incredible.

Now, I won’t say it’s cool outside, but September is not quite as hot as the summer months.  Which brings me to my treatment of the month – shoulder pain.

With it so hot I believe that a lot of people are getting relief be being in a pool, or a lake, or the ocean.  People are enjoying swimming, and if you are swimming a lot, you could easily get shoulder pain. There is a muscle called the Infraspinatus that is a key muscle for swimmers, so let’s chat about it.

A Swimmer’s Nemesis And Power – The Infraspinatus Muscle

This is what the back of your left shoulder looks like if you took off your skin – fascinating!

There are 16 muscles that all insert into your shoulder, each pulling your arm in a different direction.  Each is important and you use them all every day. But we won’t go into all of them this month, we’re just looking at the large muscle inside the red circle.  (I’m not an artist so saying “circle” is just using creative license – LOL)

This is the Infraspinatus, which originates on the surface of your shoulder blade (the scapula). It inserts into the tip of your arm bone (the humerus), and when it contracts it pulls your arm back.

Think of taking a tennis serve, or doing a backstroke in the pool, and you can visualize the movement this muscle makes.

How A Muscle Works To Move A Joint

Did you ever play “tug of war” with a stick and rope when you were young?  Basically, that’s how muscles work together to move our joints.  When the side that is on the right is pulling on the rope, the stick moves to the right. The only way the stick moves in the opposite direction, in this analogy it moves toward the left, is the right side needs to stop pulling and the left side starts to pull. When that happens, the stick moves toward the left.

This is exactly what happens in our body when we want to move a joint. Two muscles insert into a bone that is at the joint.  One muscle (let’s say the infraspinatus) pulls on the insertion point at the tip of the shoulder on your arm bone (humerus), and your arm moves back.  A muscle in the front of your shoulder/chest (pectoralis major) needs to release for your arm to move in that direction.

Then, when you want to bring your arm forward, the pectoralis major contracts and pulls on your humerus, and the infraspinatus must release tension so your arm can move.  It’s pretty simple, and it’s exactly what happens with every joint in your body.

In my books, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living and The Pain-Free Athlete, I show you how to self-treat all the shoulder muscles. This month I’m going to share with you how to self-treat the infraspinatus muscle.

A Simple Self-Treatment For The Infraspinatus Muscle

As I mentioned, there are 16 muscles that move your shoulder in all the directions you do every day.  It is important to have each of the muscles free of spasms in order to have full range-of-motion. With that said, here is the self-treatment for the infraspinatus muscle.

You can use a slightly used tennis ball to treat the muscle, although it may be too soft to be effective. I’ve found a new tennis ball may be too hard. I strongly recommend that you never use a lacrosse ball as it is much too hard and could easily bruise the bone. A bone bruise can cause pain for up to a year, so it’s certainly something to avoid.

I prefer my Perfect Ball because it is solid in the center and has a layer of softness around the outside.  This softness enables you to work deeply into the muscle without potentially bruising the bone.

The pictures below show you where the muscle is located and where to place the ball.  You can either lean into the ball on a wall, or you can lie on the floor as shown below.

When you locate a “hot spot,” where it hurts as you press on the point, just stay there for 30 seconds.

Next, release the pressure for 5 seconds to allow blood to flow into the muscle, and then press into the muscle again.  Continue this until it no longer hurts, and then look for another point. Repeat this on each painful point to enable a full release of tension and relieve pain and stiffness.

Even without working on the other muscles of the shoulder, you’ll get considerable relief by treating the infraspinatus muscle.

Have You Listened To My TEDx Talk?

The title is “The Pain Question No One Is Asking.”  It points a finger at a HUGE missing piece in our health care, one that affects millions of people.  The topic is controversial, so much so that it almost wasn’t approved because it asks a question that certain people don’t want brought to light.

You can see it by going to YouTube and putting in “Julie Donnelly, Pain”.

Please “like” and “share” it with others so TED will see that this is a subject people want to know more about.  Thanks!

Looking Ahead To October

Next month we will be looking at the #2 most prevalent pain problem in the USA.  Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is debilitating, and incredibly painful.  I know because CTS shut down my therapy practice in 1997.  I’ll tell you the short version of that situation and how it was the catalyst for me developing the self-treatments that reversed it for me. I’m happy to say that the self-treatments I developed have also helped hundreds of people around the world eliminate this problem from their lives.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Shin Splints

What Causes Shin Splints?

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

HotJuly is here and Florida is hot! The “Snowbirds” have gone north to the cooler weather (a goal of mine!) and life is moving in the slow lane.

For me, the slow down time is giving me the opportunity to work on some big projects that are planned to bring my work to massage therapists all over the USA.  If your massage therapist is interested in expanding their techniques, please tell them to contact me so we can chat.

I’m also finishing up the editing of my newest book: “Pain-Free Golf. The Secret to Your Best Golf Game Ever!”  I’m grateful and want to give a shout out to John Ma and Rebecca Saggau for their help in making this a much better book.

This month’s topic is on Shin Splints, and next month I’ll be talking about something most people aren’t aware of…bone bruises.

I hope you enjoy all the outdoor activities that go with the month of July.

What Are Shin Splints?

If you are a runner, play any sport that involves a lot of running, or if you drive for long distances, you may have experienced pain &/or burning along the front of your leg, next to your shin bone.  This pain is commonly called Shin Splints.

I’ve searched all through the internet and while I’ve found LOTS of articles about the cause of shin splints, the definition of shin splints, and treatments such as rest, ice, various meds, etc., I’ve never found anything that resembles the self-treatment I’ve been teaching for years and that is in each of my books.

I’m going to share that self-treatment with you. A plus is the treatment for the muscle that causes shin splints is also one of the main muscles that cause plantar fasciitis.  So, you may get some pain relief that you weren’t even expecting.

What Causes Shin Splints?

The Tibialis Anterior muscle cause shin splints. The tibialis anterior muscle runs along the outside of your shin bone (the tibia bone), merges into a tendon at your lower leg, crosses over your ankle and then inserts into your arch.  When it contracts, it lifts your foot and rolls it toward the outside.  Because of these attachments, it is also a key muscle in a sprained ankle and in plantar fasciitis, but these are topics for different newsletters.

The muscle fibers are directly on your shin bone, so when they are tightening due to a repetitive strain, such as running or pressing down on the gas pedal while driving long distances, they start to tear off the bone.  You can visualize this by considering how you rip meat off a bone while eating a steak or spareribs.

As the muscle is slowly tearing away from the bone you feel pain along the entire length of the bone, and it really hurts!  Fortunately, it’s easy to release the tension in the muscle. Plus, as you’re doing the self-treatment I’m showing you, you are pressing the fibers back on to the bone, so it stops them from ripping away completely.

Relief From Shin Splints

You can get immediate relief from shin splint pain by treating your tibialis anterior muscle.

Begin to warm up the muscle by putting your leg straight out and running your opposite heel down the length of the muscle.

Right at the point where the picture is showing the model’s heel on her leg is the point where you’ll find the most sensitive trigger point.

Continue from just below your knee to just above your ankle joint.

Next kneel down as shown in the picture on the right, placing the ball at the top of the muscle and right next to your shin bone.

Notice the way his toes are bent.  This will help prevent your arch from feeling like it’s going to cramp as the muscle pulls on the insertion point

Begin to move your leg so the ball is rolling down toward your ankle.  Stop when you find a tight point.

When you get to your ankle you can roll back up toward your knee again.  Ultimately it won’t hurt, but if it’s especially painful in the beginning just lighten up on the pressure.  You may even need to lift your leg off the ball at first which will allow blood to come into the muscle fiber and help lessen the tension.

This technique has helped so many people over the years, I know it will help you too!

How To Treat Yourself For Pain Relief

I’ve written several books and programs that teach you how to self-treat for pain from your head to your feet. The Shin Splint treatment is just one technique, and if you’ve been receiving this newsletter for a long time, you’ve seen many others.

My books are a good resource and will explain why muscles are causing your pain or discomfort, and how you can stop it fast.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Treating A Calf Cramp

Stretching Your Calf

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

Do you ever jump up at night with your calf screaming in pain?

Do cramps curl your toes and send shock waves all the way up your leg?

Have you ever been exercising, running, or cycling, and suddenly your calf cramped and stopped you in your tracks?

What Causes Calf Cramps?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that “the cause of leg cramps is unclear.”  Isn’t that encouraging!  There are just so many potential causes of calf cramps that it’s impossible to narrow it down. Some common causes are pregnancy, exercise, dehydration, insufficient levels of certain key nutrients, and electrolyte imbalances.

Electrolytes are minerals that have an electric charge.  You get them from the foods you eat and fluids you drink.

I’ve learned that the vitamins and minerals that impact cramps are: B1, B12, D, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

I’m not a nutritionist so I’m not going to expound on nutritional causes, deficiencies, or solutions.  For that advice I suggest you go to a highly trained nutritionist for advice.  I’ve learned a lot by watching John McDougall, MD and T. Colin Campbell, PhD on YouTube.

However, my world is muscles, so that’s where I focus my attention in today’s article.

Muscle Contractions, Spasms, And Cramps

A little clarification of terms.  A contraction is when the entire length of a muscle fiber shortens. A spasm is when a small section of the muscle fiber ties up into what is sometimes thought of as a knot. A spasm happens slowly, so you rarely realize that the spasm is occurring. However, a cramp is when 100% of the muscle suddenly contracts 100% of the way and becomes as hard as a rock and feels like it is all knotted up.

There is a very complicated set of actions that enable us to do something as simple as picking up our cell phone and calling a friend.  You don’t need (or want) to know all the steps, so just suffice to say that each muscle fiber pulls with exactly the right power to make the movement we want to perform.

For example, let’s say you want to pick up a pen, maybe 10% of the fibers in your lower arm (that move your fingers) will contract.  But if you want to pick up a bowling ball, maybe 25% of your muscle fibers will contract.  If you then need to pick up your refrigerator, maybe 100% of your fibers will contract. (All numbers are guesses just to demonstrate a principle).

Regardless of whether you are contracting 10% or 90% of your muscle fibers, they will always contract 100% of the way.  Muscles don’t start to contract and then make a U-turn and stretch – and that’s the problem. The muscle will always contract 100% of the way before it will allow you to stretch it.

If you try to stretch while the muscle is contracting, you are potentially tearing the fibers. So, the idea is to help the muscle fibers complete the contraction, and then stretch.

Treating A Calf Cramp

I suggest you try this now when nothing is happening.  You sure don’t want to be trying to figure it out while your calf is cramping.

  • Cross your leg as shown in this picture
  • Grab both ends of the muscle and push them together as hard as you can.
  • Hold the squeeze until you are breathing normally.
  • Release, breathe normally for a minute, and repeat.


The second time isn’t going to hurt.  You’re only doing the second squeeze in case there are some muscles that didn’t finish the contraction, so you’re helping them along.

After the cramp has stopped, then you can safely stretch your calf muscles.

This really hurts!  But then, a cramp also really hurts!

Stretching Your Calf

There are two muscles of your calf that you will be stretching: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

To stretch your gastrocnemius, as shown in the picture to the left, put one leg straight behind you, and bend your opposite knee.


Lean forward, bending the knee in the front while keeping your back foot planted on the floor.


You’ll feel a nice stretch in your calf as the gastrocnemius is being gently lengthened.


To stretch your soleus muscle, follow the picture on the right and bend your back leg, again keeping your foot planted on the floor, and straighten your forward leg.


Hold each stretch for about 15 seconds to allow the muscles to slowly lengthen.



Let Me Show You How You Can Treat Yourself

I’ve been teaching people how to self-treat since 1989.  As you know, I’ve written several books to show you how to self-treat to release tight muscles from your head to your feet, and I also have an MP4 program called the Julstro System that shows you how to release every muscle that causes the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger.

Did you know that I also do Zoom Consultations?  I work with people all over the world.  Zoom allows me to demonstrate to them what needs to be done, and then watch them to see if they are doing it correctly.

If you would like to work with me on a one-on-one basis from the comfort of your own home, just go to  We’ll set up a date and you’ll be off to getting the relief you are seeking.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Preventing Knee Pain

A Treatment To Relieve Strain On Your Knee

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

It is the Merry Month of May!

Knee PainMay was the start of the beautiful weather when I lived up in New York. April showers began to bring May flowers. Of course, here in Florida we have flowers all year, so it’s our friends to the north that are enjoying a glorious array of color during this month. For us May is the beginning of the hot weather.

The Snowbirds are leaving Florida and heading back up north. Safe journey. I’ll miss you!  It’s funny having friends that are gone 6 months of the year.

But it also means that life is beginning to slow down for us.  With most of the snowbirds gone, driving is easier, the stores are less crowded, and we can park at the beach.  The weather is still beautiful so we can still go outside to ride a bike, jog, or play the sports we enjoy. This leads me to talk about preventing knee pain.

Preventing Knee Pain

The weather is beautiful all across the country, which brings more people out to enjoy the sports they love.  Whether you like running or cycling, or any sport that puts a strain on your knee, you’re going to really appreciate this month’s newsletter.  We’re going to be talking about one of the muscles that put a strain on your knee joint.

The muscle we’ll be discussing today is the Rectus Femoris, one of the four quadricep muscles.  This is the only “quad” that originates on your pelvis, the other three all originate on your thigh bone.  This is why this one muscle is what I call “the keystone of the body.”

As you notice in the graphic, as I said it originates on the tip of your pelvis, it then goes down the middle/outisde of your thigh and crosses over your kneecap. The muscle then inserts into the front of your shin bone.  When you are sitting and you want to stand up, the rectus femoris, along with the other three quadriceps, shorten in order to straighten your leg.


The problem is, there is an entire pelvic situation that happens when you are sitting for an extended period of time, which makes your pelvis rotate down in the front. This causes the rectus femoris to be too long to do the job of straightening your leg.  The body rectifies that problem by tying a “knot” (spasm) in the middle of the muscle, shortening it so it can straighten your leg.

Then another problem happens because you want to bend your knee to sit down or go up stairs. This causes a strain to be placed on your kneecap as you try to bend you knee. Your body then pulls down again on your pelvis so you can bend your knee, and you get into a negative cycle of bones being strained and the muscle knotting up.

The bottom line is your kneecap is pulled up, and you have pain whenever you try to bend your knee.

It’s more complicated than all of that, but too much for a newsletter.  If you’re curious, you can get either Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living or The Pain-Free Athlete and read all about each of the muscles that are involved in this situation.

A Treatment To Relieve Strain On Your Knee

Using a dowel, or a 12”x1” length of PVC pipe, start at the top of your leg and slide, don’t roll, from the top of your leg to just above your kneecap.



After you go over your rectus femoris, and the other quadriceps, then go to the top of any one of the knots.  Press down and stay still for 15 seconds.



You can also use the ulnar bone of your forearm, as shown in the picture to the right.


Just press and slide, and then do the same thing and press into each knot to help it release.



Releasing the tension in your quadricep muscles will take the strain off your knee joint.  An added benefit of this treatment is it is one of the primary muscles I teach to release low back pain, groin pain, sciatica, and hip pain!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Neck Pain

What Causes Pain In Your Neck?

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

spring flowersHappy Spring!  My friends and family up north told me that it was a looooog winter, so I’m sure all you “Snow Birds” are thrilled to have Spring here at last.

Here in Florida, the flowers are blooming, and we’re still enjoying beautiful weather in the 70’s and low 80’s. And, of course, we are ignoring the thought of the summer coming soon.

Please Help Me

I’ve learned that for TEDx to invite me to do another talk, I need to have my current talk, “The Pain Question No One Is Asking”, shared with many people, plus I need to have comments so I can respond.  If you haven’t watched it yet, you will learn a lot about pain and how to treat it. Plus, you can help me by commenting on it and sharing it with your friends.

Maybe you have already watched it, if so, thank you.  Would you mind watching it again and adding a comment?

In either case, you can either go to YouTube and put in “Julie Donnelly, pain” or if you’re reading this newsletter online, you can go to

Thanks a lot!

What Causes Neck Pain?

This month I’ve had so many people come in with neck pain and headaches, that I decided I need to share what causes neck pain and a treatment with you. There are a lot of different treatments for the neck, some you can do, and others that you need me to do for you.

Neck pain and headaches are widespread because there are so many things we do every day that cause these two kinds of pain.  A big problem is our cell phones, and we can’t get rid of them, so we just need to know how to constantly be aware of it and treat ourselves frequently.

It’s amazing how fragile our necks are, and how vulnerable they are to injury, yet for most of us we go through life with nothing more than a headache every now and then.

Levator Scapulae MuscleIf you have had a car accident you may have suffered from whiplash, which causes horrific headaches, because the bones of your neck have been forced out of alignment.  In many cases neck pain is either caused, or complicated, by tension in a muscle called Levator Scapulae.

As you see on the graphic to your left, the muscle originates on the first four cervical vertebrae, and inserts into your shoulder blade (the scapula).

When it contracts you lift your shoulder, making the nickname for this muscle be “the shrug muscle.”

Your brain goes into your spinal cord, and then your spinal cord passes through the center of the vertebrae all the way to the bottom of your spine.

However, when the muscle is in spasm (tied in a knot) it is pulling down on the cervical vertebrae at the very base of your skull.  This pulls the bones to the side and down and pushes the bone into your spinal cord on the opposite side.

Frequently a client will come in with neck pain, or headache pain on one side, but I find the muscle tension on the opposite side.

Spasms in the levator scapulae muscle will also tilt your head to the side, and it can cause pain to your shoulder and down the upper/center part of your back.

Relief From Neck Pain

There are several effective ways to treat your neck and shoulders, the following are just two of them.  I have written books that teach many more self-treatments in case you want to learn more.

Relaxing Levator Scapulae MusclePut a ball, preferably the Perfect Ball, on the very top of your shoulder.

Bend at your hips and put the ball on the corner of a wall, pressing the top of your shoulder into the ball. Then move up and down so the ball is rolling across the top of your shoulder, from the front toward the back of your shoulder.


The goal is to lengthen the Levator Scapulae muscle, so it takes the strain off your cervical vertebrae. The Perfect Ball is ideal for this task because it is solid in the center and soft on the outside, preventing bruising to your bone.



Treating Levator Scapulae Muscle 2


A second way of treating your shoulder muscle is to press your thumb into the “well” at the front of your shoulder, just above your collar bone.






Treating Levator Scapulae Muscle


And press your fingertips into the back of your shoulder, as shown in the picture to the left.


Deeply press your thumb into your fingers, tightly squeezing the thick piece of muscle that is between your thumb and fingers.



Stretching Levator Scapulae Muscle


Then slowly drop your head in the opposite direction so you can stretch the muscle fibers.


You Can Help Yourself Relieve Pain Quickly

I’ve been helping people release pain since 1989, and back in the beginning I realized that the only way people stay out of pain is to either come to see me almost every day (not a great option!) or learn how to continue their therapy at home. That’s why I wrote my books, to help you help yourself on a regular basis.

pain free living book

Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living has over 200 pictures, colorful charts to show you where you feel pain and where to treat to relieve it, and detailed explanations that explain how to treat painful muscles from your head to your feet.

Clear and easy to follow, people have told me they call it “their bible for finding solutions to pain.”



 The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution has been written specifically to address the muscles that cause low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, and even knee pain.

Pictures and graphics, and detailed text will explain how to do each step.


 If you have either carpal tunnel syndrome or trigger finger, you’ll want to get the Julstro System For Hand/Wrist Pain And Numbness.

A specialized tool was developed to enable you to get the proper strength and focus on the spasms that cause both these problems.  The TotalTX tool also can be used for problems from your shoulders to your lower legs, and it’s all in the “how to” book included with the Julstro System.

Plus, with each one of these products you will receive a gift of a Julstro Perfect Ball (a $9.00 value) so you’ll have the tool to reach difficult spots, and to do all of the treatments taught in the books.

Wishing you well,


Treatment For A Painful Thumb

Is It Arthritis Of The Thumb Joint? 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Is It Arthritis of the Thumb Joint?

Sore ThumbI was pondering what to write about in this month’s newsletter and then I had three clients come in, all suffering from the same problem.  That made up my mind. The topic this month is thumb pain.

Several years ago, when I was still in New York, I had a regular client come in and tell me she had just been told she had arthritis in her thumb joint. I asked how she knew that, and she showed me her hand.  Her thumb was bent all the way in toward her palm and when she tried to bring her hand flat, the joint was painful, preventing her thumb from moving.

She had been given medications for the arthritis, but when she checked it out on the internet, the potential side-effects scared her so much she decided to just suffer with the arthritis.

But it wasn’t arthritis at all. The pain she was experiencing was caused by a tight muscle. I taught her the self-treatment I’m going to show you, and the results were fantastic!

Why a Tight Muscle Causes the Symptoms of Arthritis of the Thumb Joint

We use our thumbs uncountable times every day. It is impossible to even consider how many times we have used our thumb muscles over the course of our lives, but we never think about the muscles that enable us to do that movement. Yet, think of what life would be like if you lost your ability to use your thumb.Thumb Muscle


Your thumb muscle, called Opponens Pollicis, originates on the ligament that forms the bridge to your carpal tunnel. (More about carpal tunnel syndrome in a future newsletter) It inserts into the joint that is at the base of your thumb.  It forms the bulge at the base of your thumb, right where the thumb of the right hand, shown on the graphic on the left, is pressing into the left hand.

For example, do the movement shown above, pressing your right thumb into the thick muscle at the base of your thumb.  Then move your left thumb in toward the palm of your hand.  You’ll feel the muscle contract.

As the muscle is repetitively strained it shortens.  The problem is, as it’s shortening it is pulling on the bridge to the carpal tunnel and moving your thumb in toward your palm. When it gets tight, if you try to bring your thumb out it will pull at the joint.  It’s like pulling your hair and then your scalp hurts.

The good news is it’s simple to release the tension in the muscle fibers, it just takes a long time to get it to fully release.

Treatment For A Painful Thumb

It’s simple to treat your Opponens Pollicis muscle.

Treatment 1 For Sore Thumb


Place your opposite elbow directly onto the muscle. Wrap your fingers around your elbow to stabilize it so it won’t slide off the muscle.


Press deeply into the muscle and either stay still or move very slightly back and forth to lengthen the muscle fibers.


Or you can…


Place your bent middle finger directly into the muscle and wrap your hand around your hand to stabilize so your Treatment 2 For Sore Thumb Muscleknuckle won’t keep sliding off the muscle.

Hold the pressure for about 30 seconds and then move ¼” along them muscle to a new spot.

I developed this technique when I had carpal tunnel syndrome. It took me hours of self-treatment to get the muscle to final relax and not be painful.  That’s when you know you have finally released the tension and the strain is removed from the bridge to your carpal tunnel (flexor retinaculum).

Even if you don’t have the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, doing this technique will make your hand feel so much better, more flexible, and light.

Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living!

pain free living book


It’s the name of my book, and it says exactly what you will experience when you discover how to release tight muscles that cause joint pain.

People have told me this book is their first “go to” when they have aches and pains, and it has saved them hundreds of dollars in doctor visits and pain medications.

For only $49.00 you can treat muscles that cause everything from headaches to foot pain…a bargain at twice the price!

Order Now and start to feel more flexible and pain-free quickly.


Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Health Tips From The Professor