Relief From Headaches And Shoulder Pain

Treating Your Levator Scapulae Muscle

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

This newsletter is moving into the 21st century!  Everyone has been pushing me to get into videos, but I’m often a dinosaur and I could relate to just text and photos, so I pushed back.  And finally, I saw the benefit to everyone of using videos.

Last month I included just the self-treatment video, and this month I’m moving even further ahead.  I’ve filmed at least 40 videos explaining all kinds of info about muscles and pain.  Each month the newsletter will have one of those explanatory videos, and 1-2 self-treatment videos that relate to the topic being discussed.

I’d really appreciate your feedback on this new way of presenting my info about why muscles cause pain and what you can do about it.  I also appreciate your patience while I learn this new method as I’m sure I’ll be making some technical mistakes.  😊

A BIG shout-out to three people who are making this possible: 

    Pat White, Carla Sellers,

       and Sherri Proctor

 

I’m also a dinosaur when it comes to creating the videos that are necessary to make all of this happen in the first place.  So, I called an expert!  I spent many hours with my good friend, Sherri, creating videos of just about everything.  Sherri is a fantastic photographer and videographer.  Aside from doing all the videos I’ll be sharing with you, Sherri is responsible for almost all the videos I use when I teach massage therapists, and now the self-treatment videos that are being shared with everyone. (If you need a GREAT photographer or videographer, call Sherri at 941-345-5135)

Pat is my webmaster.  I can’t begin to list all the work he is doing with the newsletter to make these videos presentable so you can have the best experience watching them.  He is also in charge of all my websites, teaching programs for massage therapists, and so much more.  Pat also has great patience (or he hides frustration well!) as I move kicking & screaming into this new electronic world!

Thanks to Pat there will be many articles added to the website, each explaining another piece of the puzzle that makes up our body and how it works.  The articles have all been tucked away in my computer as I didn’t know what to do with them.  It’s fun working on the project of sharing them with everyone.

Plus, Pat is working on a major project that I’ll share with you when it’s ready to come out.  I’m so excited!

Carla runs all the social media sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.  It all started with her just putting SEO and descriptions, and new thumbnail pictures, on each of the videos. She told me that as she watched the videos, she knew she had to do something to help me.  That grew from a smallish project to a HUGE project!  I’m incredibly grateful for all she has done, and is still doing, to bring my work to the world!

On To The June Newsletter

The body is a symphony of muscles, each playing its own part in our ability to move, and each a key player with a group of other muscles in just about everything we do.

I can’t possibly give you every treatment that needs to be done to get relief, but I will always give you information on the key muscles that need to be treated.

Relief From Headaches And Shoulder Pain 

This month I want to share a video that explains a muscle that causes shoulder pain and headaches.  The name of the muscle is Levator Scapulae.

The levator scapulae muscle originates on the first four cervical vertebrae and inserts into the medial border of your shoulder blade (scapula).

When the muscle contracts normally it lifts your shoulder blade, hence the nickname, “the shrug muscle.”

Click Here to watch the video explaining this muscle and why it causes headaches and shoulder pain

JulstroMethod Self-Treatment For The Levator Scapular Muscle

You’ll need a ball to do this self-treatment.  If you’ve been in to see me, you have the Perfect Ball, which really is perfect to do this treatment correctly.

Click Here to watch how to quickly and easily release the tension in your shoulder muscle.

Snowbirds And Clients Around The World –

Zoom Consultations Are Available

I’ve successfully worked with people around the world for many years.

I also love working with Snowbirds who are in Sarasota all winter, and then head north when it gets hot here.  It’s so nice to see you, and to help you stop aches and pains.

The way we work together is simple:

  1. You go to https://julstromethod.com/product/one-on-one-zoom-consultation/ and order a private consultation.
  1. You send me an email explaining what is wrong, where you feel the pain, what you’ve done to treat it so far, etc., etc. Don’t tell me about medications because that is far out of my scope of practice so I can’t give any advice about them.
  1. We meet on Zoom and work together to find and eliminate the source of your pain.
  1. You receive the Zoom recording so you can watch it again later to refresh your memory about the treatments.

All this for only $147.

Have a beautiful summer!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

www.FlexibleAthlete.com

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.

About The Author

julie donnellyJulie Donnelly has been a licensed massage therapist since 1989, specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries. The author of several books including Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, The Pain-Free Athlete, and The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution.

Julie has also developed a proven self-treatment program for the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

She has a therapy practice in Sarasota, Florida, and she travels around the USA to teach massage and physical therapists how to do the Julstro Method, and she also teaches self-treatment clinics to anyone interested in taking charge of their own health and flexibility.

She may be reached at her office: 919-886-1861, or through her website: www.FlexibleAthlete.com

About The Editor

Dr. Chaney has a BS in Chemistry from Duke University and a PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA. He is Professor Emeritus from the University of North Carolina where he taught biochemistry and nutrition to medical and dental students for 40 years.

Dr. Chaney won numerous teaching awards at UNC, including the Academy of Educators “Excellence in Teaching Lifetime Achievement Award”. Dr Chaney also ran an active cancer research program at UNC and published over 100 scientific articles and reviews in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, he authored two chapters on nutrition in one of the leading biochemistry text books for medical students.

Since retiring from the University of North Carolina, he has been writing a weekly health blog called “Health Tips From the Professor”. He has also written two best-selling books, “Slaying the Food Myths” and “Slaying the Supplement Myths”. And most recently he has created an online lifestyle change course, “Create Your Personal Health Zone”. For more information visit https://chaneyhealth.com.

For the past 45 years Dr. Chaney and his wife Suzanne have been helping people improve their health holistically through a combination of good diet, exercise, weight control and appropriate supplementation.

Does EPA Reduce Migraine Frequency?

What Causes Migraines And The Role Of Omega-3s In Prevention

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

MigraineMigraines can be debilitating. And they affect millions of Americans. According to a recent survey 17.1% of women and 5.6% of men in the United States suffer migraine symptoms.

Symptoms range from frequent headaches to visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, extreme light and sound sensitivity, brain fog, and debilitating pain. Sometimes all a migraine sufferer can do is retreat to a dark, quiet room and wait out the symptoms. This makes it virtually impossible to work, socialize, and interact with family.

For example, work absenteeism due to migraines is thought to cost US businesses up to $13 billion dollars annually. And, of course, there is no way to estimate the psychological cost of lost interactions with family and friends. And people who experience frequent migraines are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Medications can provide some relief from migraine symptoms, but they all have side effects. Various natural approaches for migraine relief have been proposed, but none of them are proven.

What Causes Migraines And The Role Of Omega-3s In Prevention

MigrainesOur understanding of migraines is complicated by the fact there appear to be multiple causes of migraines. It’s almost as if what we call “migraines” are really a variety of diseases with different causes but similar symptoms.

Migraines can be triggered by:

  • Hormonal fluctuations.
  • Weather changes.
  • Foods
    • The top 3 food triggers of migraines are caffeine, red wine, and chocolate.
    • Other common food triggers are artificial sweeteners, foods containing MSG, cured meats, aged cheeses, pickled and fermented foods, frozen foods, and salty foods.
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Certain drugs.
  • Missed meals.

Migraine triggers vary from person to person. And multiple neurophysiological pathways have been proposed to explain how each of these triggers progresses to a full-blown migraine.

To simplify a very complex subject, there are three main factors that influence each of these proposed pathways:

  • Susceptibility to migraines clearly runs in families.
  • 75% of migraine sufferers are women.
  • Inflammation.

Because inflammation plays a strong role in progression and severity of migraines, there has been a strong interest in the use of long-chain omega-3s like EPA and DHA as nutraceuticals to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

However, previous studies have had mixed results. Some have suggested that omega-3s reduce the risk of migraines while others have come up empty.

The authors of the current study (H-F Wang, et al, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 118, 459-467, 2024) postulated that some previous studies failed to find a benefit of omega-3 supplementation because they were too short in duration, used a mixture of omega-3s, or were poorly designed.

They noted that high dose EPA alone had proven to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease and depression. So, they performed a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with migraine sufferers using 1.8 grams of EPA per day.

How Was This Study Done?

clinical studyThis was a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the gold standard for clinical studies. The investigators recruited 70 patients (15 men and 55 women) with episodic migraines (defined as migraines with or without aura occurring fewer than 15 days per month) from the neurology clinic of Kuang Tien General Hospital in Taiwan. The average age of the patients was 39 years old.

The subjects were randomly assigned to use either 1.8 gm/day of EPA or a soybean oil placebo for 12 weeks. Both were formulated with an orange flavoring to hide the taste difference. Neither the patients nor the physicians conducting the study knew who got the EPA and who got the placebo.

The patients filled out an extensive questionnaire about their migraines and related issues at entry into the study and at the end of 12 weeks. They were also asked to maintain headache diaries for at least 4 weeks prior to the study and for every 4 weeks of the 12-week study. They received training from the study coordinator on how to fill out the diaries and were encouraged to contact the coordinator if they had any questions about how to accurately fill out the diary.

The primary outcome of the study was the decrease in migraine frequency from baseline to 12 weeks. The study also assessed changes in:

  • Headache severity.
  • The need to use headache medicines.
  • Migraine-specific disability (The extent to which migraines resulted in disability).
  • Migraine-specific quality of life index (The extent to which migraines affected the quality of life).
  • Anxiety and depression (These are often side effects of chronic migraines).

While some of those outcomes appear to be overlapping, they are all well-established assessments used in migraine research. The questionnaire the doctors used was designed to provide a numerical rating for each of these outcomes.

Does EPA Reduce Migraine Frequency?

omega-3 fish oil supplementAs expected, there were no significant changes in the placebo group. But in the group taking 1.8 gm/day of EPA:

  • Migraine frequency decreased by 60%.
  • Frequency that headache medication was needed decreased by 45%.
  • Headache severity decreased by 14%.
  • Sleep quality increased by 17%, but that increase was not statistically significant.
  • Migraine-related disability decreased by 73%.
  • Migraine-related quality of life improved by 31%.
  • Anxiety and depression decreased by 53%.

These differences were statistically significant for the women in the study, but not for men – probably because of the small number of men in the study.

The study also assessed side effects from EPA supplementation in this group. Side effects were minimal and were not different from the placebo group.

The authors concluded, “High-dose EPA significantly reduced migraine frequency and severity. Improved psychological symptoms and quality of life in migraine patients, and showed no adverse events [effects], suggesting its potential for prophylactic use for migraine patients.”

They went on to say, “The results of this study may not only serve as a valuable reference for future large-scale randomized clinical trials to investigate the optimal dosing and components of omega-3 fatty acids for migraine prevention but also underscore the need for replication of these findings in adequately powered and controlled studies.”

In other words, this study needs to be confirmed by additional studies. And future studies need to determine the optimal dose of EPA and the optimal ratio of EPA to DHA.

What This Study Means For Us And For You

Question MarkThe topic of omega-3s and migraines is of special significance for us. About 40 years ago my wife and I started taking a high purity omega-3 supplement containing both EPA and DHA to control inflammation. We didn’t have noticeable inflammation at the time, but we both had parents who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and wished to avoid their suffering later in life.

In just a few weeks the migraines my wife had been experiencing for years disappeared. That piqued my interest, so I searched the literature and found several studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids reduce migraine symptoms. I have followed the twists and turns of omega-3 – migraine research ever since, which is how I came across this study.

As for our original purpose in taking an omega-3 supplement, all I can say is that we are now in our 80s, and neither of us suffer from the rheumatoid arthritis that plagued our parents.

And for my wife the disappearance of her migraines was an unexpected side benefit.

This study is a strong validation of the effect of omega-3s on reducing migraine symptoms. However, it is not the end of the story. As the authors said:

  • It needs to be confirmed by larger, well controlled studies.
  • The optimal dose of omega-3s needs to be determined.
  • The optimal ratio of EPA to DHA and possibly other long chain omega-3s needs to be determined.

This study used 1.8 grams/day of pure EPA. My wife takes 3 grams of EPA and 2 grams of DHA each day. But we don’t know whether she would experience the same benefit from a lower dose or whether that is the optimal ratio of EPA to DHA. We do know that EPA and DHA have different health benefits, so we plan to continue taking a supplement that contains both.

And finally, as I said above, it is almost as if what we call migraines are really a cluster of diseases with similar symptoms. There are multiple migraine triggers and multiple proposed explanations of how these triggers lead to full-blown migraines.

So, we shouldn’t think of omega-3s as a magic bullet. Rather, we should think of them as one of many approaches that may provide you with some migraine relief.

The Bottom Line

A recent double-blind, placebo controlled clinical study with migraine sufferers reported that when they were given 1.8 gm/day of EPA for 12 weeks:

  • Migraine frequency decreased by 60%.
  • Frequency that headache medication was needed decreased by 45%.
  • Headache severity decreased by 14%.
  • Migraine-related disability decreased by 73%.
  • Migraine-related quality of life improved by 31%.
  • Anxiety and depression decreased by 53%.

The authors concluded, “High-dose EPA significantly reduced migraine frequency and severity. Improved psychological symptoms and quality of life in migraine patients, and showed no adverse events [effects], suggesting its potential for prophylactic use for migraine patients.”

They went on to say, “The results of this study may not only serve as a valuable reference for future large-scale randomized clinical trials to investigate the optimal dosing and components of omega-3 fatty acids for migraine prevention but also underscore the need for replication of these findings in adequately powered and controlled studies.”

In other words, this study needs to be confirmed by additional studies. And future studies need to determine the optimal dose of EPA and the optimal ratio of EPA to DHA.

For more details about this study and what it means for you read the article above.

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.

 ______________________________________________________________________________

My posts and “Health Tips From the Professor” articles carefully avoid claims about any brand of supplement or manufacturer of supplements. However, I am often asked by representatives of supplement companies if they can share them with their customers.

My answer is, “Yes, as long as you share only the article without any additions or alterations. In particular, you should avoid adding any mention of your company or your company’s products. If you were to do that, you could be making what the FTC and FDA consider a “misleading health claim” that could result in legal action against you and the company you represent.

For more detail about FTC regulations for health claims, see this link.

https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/health-products-compliance-guidance 

____________________________________________________________________________

About The Author 

Dr. Chaney has a BS in Chemistry from Duke University and a PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA. He is Professor Emeritus from the University of North Carolina where he taught biochemistry and nutrition to medical and dental students for 40 years.  Dr. Chaney won numerous teaching awards at UNC, including the Academy of Educators “Excellence in Teaching Lifetime Achievement Award”. Dr Chaney also ran an active cancer research program at UNC and published over 100 scientific articles and reviews in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, he authored two chapters on nutrition in one of the leading biochemistry text books for medical students.

Since retiring from the University of North Carolina, he has been writing a weekly health blog called “Health Tips From the Professor”. He has also written two best-selling books, “Slaying the Food Myths” and “Slaying the Supplement Myths”. And most recently he has created an online lifestyle change course, “Create Your Personal Health Zone”. For more information visit https://chaneyhealth.com.

For the past 45 years Dr. Chaney and his wife Suzanne have been helping people improve their health holistically through a combination of good diet, exercise, weight control and appropriate supplementation.

Hip And Knee Pain Relief

A Common Cause For Pains From Hip To Knee 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Spring Is In The Air

Beach At SunsetI remember as a child we sang “Though April showers may come your way…they bring the flowers that bloom in May…”

Of course, here in Florida we are blessed with flowers all year, but there is still a lovely feeling that happens in Spring.  It’s still cool enough most days to go out running, and the humidity is still low.

Traffic will soon be easing up as our friends from the north start their trek back home, and daylight savings time is giving us more time to get to the beach for sunset.  Lovely!

Fun Facts About Spring…. 

  • The earliest known use of the term “spring cleaning” was in 1857
  • The word “spring” has been used for the season since the 16th century
  • The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox
  • On the first day of spring, the sunrise and sunset are about 12 hours apart everywhere on earth
  • Spring fever isn’t just a saying. Experts say the body changes due to the temperature and can cause an upset in your health.
  • The actual start of spring varies from March 19th to the 21st, but it is commonly celebrated on the 21st.

Do you like to garden?  Now is the perfect time to get your gardens planted so you’ll have home grown veggies for the entire summer.  For me, it’s also a great time to do some spring cleaning and get the house in order before the summer closes all the windows and the air conditioning becomes our indoor relief.

But these activities can also cause a strain on muscles, so don’t forget to take care of yourself.

A Common Cause For Pains From Hip To Knee

hip painThere are times when I am led to sharing a treatment because I had a run of clients all suffering from the same source muscle.  That is what happened for this newsletter.  In March I had at least six clients come to my office, all having different symptoms, but all stemming from the same source.

My clients complained of hip pain, thigh pain, knee pain, and pain down the outside of the lower leg.

In this case it was the Tensor Fascia Lata and two of the three Gluteal muscles: Medius, Minimus. The Gluteus Medius is directly over the Gluteus Minimus, so treating one will actually treat both.  And the Tensor Fascia Lata is right next to both these muscles.

All these muscles insert into the same area of the hip, and for different reasons, they all cause hip pain.  Also, each muscle refers pain to a different location, so you think you have a problem in these referred pain locations, but they are all coming from your hip.

This is one of the many times when working on one area will solve many different problems.

Take a look at these Trigger Point charts:

To read the charts, look at the shaded area (which shows where pain is felt) and look for the muscle name in the same color.  Then follow the arrow to the same-colored round circles with “x”. This is the trigger point (spasm) that is the source of that pain pattern.

You’ll notice that the spasm (trigger point) for the purple pain pattern is in the Gluteus Minimus at the outside of the hip, but the pain pattern goes to the outside of the thigh, the knee, and all the way down to the ankle.

The spasms for the Tensor Fascia Lata is in the same place on the hip, but the pain pattern is the hip, the thigh, and the outside of the knee.

In each of these cases the pain is being felt along the insertion points for the muscles.

Hip And Knee Pain Relief

To relieve the muscle spasms that are causing the problem, use my “Perfect Ball” (You can use a baseball or tennis ball, but my Perfect Ball is just the right size and hardness for the job). Then, either lie on the floor or stand up and lean into a wall as shown in the two photos below.  Lean into the ball, easing your pressure onto the ball gradually.  As the muscle releases it will hurt less and less.            

Then you can rotate your body, so the ball is pressing into the front of your hip or rotating so the ball is rolling toward the back of your body.  You will likely find multiple painful tender spots.  Each spot is a spasm that is putting pressure on your bones or is pulling on the tendon (called the IlioTibial Band – ITB) that is putting pressure onto your lateral knee joint. 

You can also treat these muscles by using a length of 1” PVC pipe as shown in the picture on the left.

This picture was shared with me by an athlete. An avid runner, she couldn’t get down on the ground, nor was there a wall that she could press into, but using the pipe and a street sign pole, she was still able to release the tight muscles that were preventing her from running.

This may not be perfect for you, but if you are an athlete, it could be just what you need when you’re unable to treat yourself as shown above.

You REALLY CAN Treat Yourself 

Since 1989 I have been working with people who are experiencing severe &/or chronic pain.  During those years I’ve managed to figure out why they are in pain, and how they can stop the pain by treating themselves.

It is wonderful when someone can come into my office and I can work directly with them, but I’ve found that the key is the self-treatments I teach them to do at home.  With the self-treatments you can release the tension multiple times every day, retraining your muscles to stay relaxed.

Thousands of people have been able to stop pain fast because they have followed the simple techniques I teach.

You can stop pain fast too!  Even chronic pain releases when you treat the source and not just the symptom! 

To enable you to know where to treat, and how to treat the muscles that cause pain, I’ve produced several “How To” books and DVD programs.

Visit my shopping cart  to see the full line of pain-relief products that will help you overcome:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms
  • Trigger finger
  • Low back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Sciatica
  • Knee Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis

In fact, you can get relief for pains from your head to your feet!

Next Month’s Topic 

In May I’ll be sharing about the muscles that cause the #1 repetitive strain injury in the entire world!

If you have, or know someone who has, low back pain, you won’t want to miss next month’s article.

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: https://julstromethod.com/cts/

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

www.FlexibleAthlete.com

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

www.FlexibleAthlete.com

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSrxURd8ZJk&t=133s.

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,

Julie

How I Treated My Frozen Shoulder

Why We Get Shoulder Pain 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Happy New Year

celebrationI love the holidays!  It’s wonderful to see family and friends, and there’s always such good food and fun, but I’m also happy when the New Year begins.  Of course, every day is a “new year”, but January 1st is like starting a whole new book of life, with unlimited possibilities.

This year, I’m not only writing goals, I am also doing something that was suggested by Pegine Echevarria.  I’m looking back on this past year and writing down as many of my successes as I can remember.  Goals are the roadmap for the future, but remembering past successes lifts our confidence that we’ll be able to achieve the goals we have set.

In fact, this year I’m going to look at each day and write down a success that I’ve had that day. How wonderful it will be on New Year’s Eve to look back and read 365 successes for 2020!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you’re also eager about starting 2020.  Here’s to a year of adventure, joy, health, prosperity, and fulfillment of all your dreams!

Why We Get Shoulder Pain

For some reason I’ve had a LOT of clients come in with shoulder issues this month, more than normal, so it made me decide that this month’s topic should be about the shoulder.

The shoulder has more muscle attachments than any other joint in the body, which Is the reason we have such a wide assortment of movements we can make with our shoulder and arm.

There are 16 different muscles that impact your shoulder and cause movement and stability to the joint.  Each muscle is pulling in a different direction, and that’s a blessing, and a potential problem.

For example, when one muscle is trying to pull your arm forward, and the muscle that pulls your arm back is in spasm, you will have pain every time you try to move your arm to drive a car, type at your computer, or lift anything up.  And the pain can get severe if it’s not treated properly and quickly.

How I Treated My Frozen Shoulder

In 1993 I had the worst case of frozen shoulder I’ve ever seen in anyone before or since.

Every one of the 16 muscles had gone into a sudden spasm, pulling in 16 different directions.  It locked my elbow to my waistline and even the slightest movement in any direction caused excruciating shoulder joint pain.  Nobody could figure out what to do and I ended up tying my arm to my body to stop the stabbing hot knife pains I felt with even the slightest movement.  It was horrible! I knew what I would do to help you, but I couldn’t find anyone who could do those same treatments for me.  What to do?!

You know that voice that’s forever running in your head?  I was frantic and said out loud, ”What the heck am I going to do?” And a voice in my head said to me “treat yourself!”  Really, now how was I going to self-treat all these muscles when I had absolutely no movement in my left arm?  The voice said: “figure it out!”  So, I did!

It wasn’t easy, and it was definitely painful, but step-by-step I worked out how to treat each muscle using a ball, and my fingertips.  It took me five months to get back to 100% mobility, but I did it.  Next thing I knew every client who came to my office was suffering from shoulder pain. Nobody was as severe as I had been, but their situation was still very painful and limiting them in many ways.

I realized that I wouldn’t have gotten full range-of-motion back if I hadn’t been self-treating several times a day, so I started to teach my clients how to help themselves.  I didn’t have any pictures yet so I could only show them one or two techniques each time they came in, but it made a huge difference.  People started getting better, and I moved on to a new aspect of my therapy practice -– teaching people how to self-treat for permanent pain relief.pain free living book

Eventually I took pictures of each self-treatment, and I hand wrote a description of what the picture was demonstrating.  I didn’t have a computer yet, but that’s another long story about how it all became my first book (the title was so long, even I don’t remember it!).  I learned to have short titles for each book, and now every treatment I teach is in either Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, The Pain-Free Athlete, or The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution. 

If you have been to see me for therapy, you know that I teach you what to do at home.  That’s definitely something most massage therapists don’t do, but my feeling is I’m only successful if you are out of pain and you stay that way.

One Important Shoulder Self-Treatment You Can Use First

We’ll demonstrate on the left arm:

 

Put a ball in your right hand and then bring your hand under your left armpit or you can place the ball as shown in the picture.

 

 

 

Lean onto a wall, moving until you find the “hot spot.”

Stay there for about a minute, either staying still or moving very slightly.

Take the pressure off the ball to let blood get into the area and repeat several times.

 

Move about, bringing the ball up further into your shoulder blade, and down toward your armpit (treating the latissimus dorsi muscle).

There Is So Much More

As I mentioned, there are 16 muscles involved in moving our shoulder and arm, and this is only one technique to ease pain and stiffness.  In my opinion, this is the #1 treatment I always teach because it helps so much, but the others are important too.

You can get every self-treatment in Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living and The Pain-Free Athlete. 

I’m also opening a weekly Zoom gathering that comes with 24/7/365 access to all the tools you need to find and release aches and pains from your head to your feet.  You can get information about it by going to www.Pain-FreeAthlete.com.

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.

What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Can Diet Douse The Flames?

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

InflammationIf you have arthritis, colitis, bursitis, or any of the other “itis” diseases, you already know that inflammation is the enemy. Chronic, low level inflammation is also a contributing factor to heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Clearly, inflammation is a bad actor. It is something we want to avoid.

Obesity and diabetes are two of the biggest contributors to inflammation, but does diet also play a role? With all the anti-inflammation diets circulating on the internet, you would certainly think so. How good is the evidence that certain foods influence inflammation, and what does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?

The Science Behind Anti-Inflammatory Diets

ScientistLet me start by saying that the science behind anti-inflammatory diets is nowhere near as strong as it is for the effect of primarily plant-based diets on heart disease and diabetes. The studies on anti-inflammatory diets are mostly small, short duration studies. However, the biggest problem is that there is no standard way of measuring inflammation.

There are multiple markers of inflammation, and they do not change together. That means that in every study some markers of inflammation are altered, while others are not. There is no consistent pattern from one study to another.

In spite of these methodological difficulties, the studies generally point in the same direction. Let’s start with the strongest evidence and work our way down to the weakest evidence. 

Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory (I. Reinders et al, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66: 736-741, 2011). The evidence is strongest for the long chain omega-3s found in fish and fish oil, but the shorter chain omega-3s found in foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil also appear to be anti-inflammatory. 

Inflammation is directly correlated with glycemic index (L. Qi and F.B. Lu, Current Opinion in Lipidology, 18: 3-8, 2007). This has a couple of important implications.

The most straightforward is that refined carbohydrates and sugars (sodas, pastries, and desserts), which have a high glycemic index, increase inflammation. In contrast, complex carbohydrates (whole grains, most fruits and vegetables) decrease inflammation. No surprise there. The second implication is that it is the glycemic index, not the sugar, that is driving the inflammatory response.

That means we need to look more closely at foods than at sugars. Sodas, pastries and desserts are likely to cause inflammation, but sugar-containing foods with a low glycemic index are unlikely to be inflammatory. 

Fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory. This has been shown in multiple studies. At this point most of the research is centered on identifying the nutrients and phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables that are responsible for the reduction in inflammation. I suspect the investigators are hoping to design an anti-inflammatory supplement and make lots of money. I will stick with the fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Saturated fats are inflammatory. At face value, the data on saturated fats appear to be contradictory. Some Fatty Foodsstudies say that saturated fats increase inflammation, while others say they do not. However, similar to my earlier discussion on saturated fats and heart disease), the outcome of the study depends on what the saturated fats are replaced with.

When saturated fats are replaced with refined carbohydrates, sugar and highly processed foods (the standard American low-fat diet), inflammation doesn’t change. This doesn’t mean that a diet high in saturated fat is healthy. It just means that both diets are bad for you. Both are inflammatory.

However, when saturated fat is replaced with omega-3 polyunsaturated fats (J.A. Paniagua et al, Atherosclerosis, 218: 443-450, 2011) or monounsaturated fats (B. Vessby et al, Diabetologia, 44: 312-319, 2001), markers of inflammation decrease. Clearly, saturated fats are not the best fat choice if you wish to keep inflammation in check.

I would be remiss if I did not address the claims by the low-carb diet proponents that saturated fats do not increase inflammation in the context of a low-carb diet. I want to remind you of two things we have discussed previously:

  • The comparisons in those studies are generally with people consuming a diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugars.
  • These studies have mostly been done in the short-term when the participants are losing weight on the low-carb diets. Weight loss decreases inflammation, so the reduction in inflammation on the low-carb diet could be coming from the weight loss.

The one study (M. Miller et al, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109: 713-717, 2009) I have found that compares a low-carb diet (the Atkins diet) with a good diet (the Ornish diet, which is a low-fat, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet) during weight maintenance found that the meat based, low-carb Atkins diet caused greater inflammation than the healthy low-fat Ornish diet.

Red meat is probably pro-inflammatory. Most, but not all, studies suggest that red meat consumption is associated with increased inflammation. If it is pro-inflammatory, the inflammation is most likely associated with its saturated fat, its heme iron content, or the advanced glycation end products formed during cooking.

What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Colorful fruits and vegetablesAnti-inflammatory diets have become so mainstream that they now appear on many reputable health organization websites such as Harvard Health, WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic. Each have slightly different features, but there is a tremendous amount of agreement. 

Foods an anti-inflammatory diet includes: In a nutshell, an anti-inflammatory diet includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices. Specifically, your diet should emphasize:

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables. Not only do they help fight inflammation, but they are a great source of antioxidants and other nutrients important for your health.
  • Whole grains. They have a low glycemic index. They are also a good source of fiber, and fiber helps flush inflammatory toxins out of the body.
  • Beans and other legumes. They should be your primary source of protein. They are high in fiber and contain antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Nuts, olive oil, and avocados. They are good sources of healthy monounsaturated fats, which fight inflammation.
  • Fatty fish. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all great sources of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are fish and fish oilincorporated into our cell membranes. Those long chain omega-3s in cell membranes are, in turn, used to create compounds that are powerful inflammation fighters.

Walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are good sources of short chain omega-3s. The efficiency of their conversion to long chain omega-3s that can be incorporated into cell membranes is only around 2-5%. If they fight inflammation, it is probably because they replace some of the saturated fats and omega-6 fats you might otherwise be eating.

  • Herbs and spices. They add antioxidants and other phytonutrients that fight inflammation.

Foods an anti-inflammatory diet excludes: In a nutshell, an anti-inflammatory diet should exclude highly processed, overly greasy, or super sweet foods, especially sodas and other sweet drinks. Specifically, your diet should exclude:

  • Refined carbohydrates, sodas and sugary foods. They have a high glycemic index, which is associated with inflammation. They can also lead to weight gain and high blood sugar, both of which cause inflammation.
  • Foods high in saturated fats. This includes fatty and processed meats, butter, and high fat dairy products.
  • Foods high in trans fats. This includes margarine, coffee creamers, and any processed food containing partly hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats are very pro-inflammatory.
  • French fries, fried chicken, and other fried foods. They used to be fried in saturated fat and/or trans fat. Nowadays, they are generally fried in omega-6 vegetable oils. A little omega-6 in the diet is OK, but Americans get too much omega-6 fatty acids in their diet. Most studies show that a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is pro-inflammatory.
  • Foods you are allergic or sensitive to. Eating any food that you are sensitive to can cause inflammation. This comes up most often with respect to gluten and dairy because so many people are sensitive to one or both. However, if you are not sensitive to them, there is no reason to exclude whole grain gluten-containing foods or low-fat dairy foods from your diet.

Can Diet Douse The Flames?

FlamesIn case you didn’t notice, the recommendations for an anti-inflammatory diet closely match the other healthy diets I have discussed previously. It should come as no surprise then that both the Mediterranean (L. Gallard, Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25: 634-640, 2010; L. Schwingshackl and G. Hoffmann, Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 24: 929-939, 2014) and DASH (D.E. King et al, Archives of Internal Medicine, 167: 502-506, 2007) diets are anti-inflammatory.

Vegan and vegetarian diets also appear to be anti-inflammatory as well. The anti-inflammatory nature of these diets undoubtedly contributes to their association with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

As for the low-carb diets, the jury is out. There are no long-term studies to support the claims of low-carb proponents that their diets reduce inflammation. The few long-term studies that are available suggest that low-carb diets are only likely to be anti-inflammatory if vegetable proteins and oils replace the animal proteins and fats that are currently recommended.

What does this mean for you if you have severe arthritis or other inflammatory diseases? An anti-inflammatory diet is unlikely to “cure” your symptoms by itself. However, it should definitely be a companion to everything else you are doing to reduce inflammation.

The Bottom Line 

If you have arthritis, colitis, bursitis, or any of the other “itis” diseases, you already know that inflammation is the enemy. Chronic, low level inflammation is also a contributing factor to heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Clearly, inflammation is a bad actor. It’s something we want to avoid.

Obesity and diabetes are two of the biggest contributors to inflammation, but does diet also play a role? With all the anti-inflammation diets circulating on the internet, you would certainly think so. In this article I review the evidence that certain foods influence inflammation and describe what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like.

For more details read the article above.

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.

A Novel Treatment For Shoulder Pain

My Mission Is To Help You Live Pain-Free 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

Happy Valentine’s Day

Healthy HeartWhen I lived up north, February was the worst month of the winter – cold, gloomy, and while it’s only 28 days long, it seemed endless.  If you’re in the cold weather, I hope you stay nice and warm, and that you also find some fun outdoor activities to help this month end quickly.

Here in Florida, this is one of our best months!  No humidity, no rain, no bugs, and lots of sunshine.  We love February!

February is also thought of as a month to show love for another (it should be every month, but we’ll leave that alone for now).  Lovers go out to special dinners, sometimes buying expensive gifts or flowers. And many people send sweet cards to friends and family.

But the actual origination of Valentine’s Day isn’t such a loving story.  The day is named after St. Valentine, a Christian martyr who was executed in ancient Rome on February 14th in the 3rd century A.D. There was also a pagan ritual that had to do with fertility, and where women put their names into an urn for bachelors to pick from. Somehow the two merged over the years and brought St. Valentine’s Day into the more romantic sphere.

In any case, it’s now a multi billion dollar business that has nothing to do with anything religious but can be fun for loving couples to celebrate.

A Letter From A Reader

Subclavius MuscleThis past week I received an email from a reader of this newsletter.  I’ve asked people to send me a message if they have any aches or pains that they would like for me to discuss.  This is a topic I’ve never discussed before, and since it’s causing this woman distress, I decided it’s the perfect discussion for the month.

Suzie was feeling pain across the front of her shoulder, and she had painful points along the bottom of her clavicle (collarbone).  The subclavius muscle is a short muscle that originates on your 1st rib and inserts into the underside of your clavicle. You can look at it on Wikipedia (https://bit.ly/2KV7lT8) if you’d like to see how tiny it is and where to find it when you are self-treating for pain.

As shown in the graphic above, it is interesting to think that such a small muscle can cause so much pain in the front of your shoulder, and down your biceps to your inner elbow.  Even more interesting is that most people aren’t aware of this muscle, so they search other places when they are feeling pain across the front of their shoulder.  As a result, they don’t get relief, and they may even turn to pain medications.

A Novel Treatment For Shoulder Pain

If your pain starts in the front of your shoulder and radiates down your bicep, the pain may be caused by your subclavius muscle. If, you are in luck. The treatment for this muscle is so simple you can do it any place and at any time.Treatment For Subclavius Muscle Pain

Simply press your fingertips as shown in this picture.  If that exact point isn’t painful, move your fingertips a bit to one side or the other.

It will probably feel like a sharp pain, and you may even feel the tiny bump that is caused by the spasm.

Hold the pressure for a minute or so….

Release the pressure (but don’t move your finger off the point)…

Press deeply again and hold.

Do this several times until it doesn’t hurt to press on the point.

I have been working with people suffering from chronic pain and/or sports injuries since 1989. One thing I have found is that while I can find and successfully treat the muscles causing pain when people come into my office, it’s vital for them to continue their treatment at home.

A phenomenon called “muscle memory” will cause the muscle to begin to shorten as soon as we finish our therapy session.  Left untreated the muscle will tighten again in as short as 2-3 days, and you’ll have pain again.  However, if you self-treat the muscle you will continue to bring it back to its proper length, and ultimately it will stay, and the pain will be eliminated

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.

Relieve Stress Headaches Naturally

What Causes Stress Headaches?

Stress is an unfortunate byproduct of the festivities of the holiday season. The holidays are supposed to be fun. But you are adding all the festive gatherings, Christmas shopping, and family drama to an already crowded schedule.

Then the New Year comes. This should be a time you can relax. But no, the holiday bills start rolling in, and you have the stress of figuring out how to pay them. Then, there are New Year’s resolutions. You know you should be making resolutions, but you also know you’ve never successfully kept them in the past. Now, that is real stress.

 

 

 

 

 

That stress often shows up as tight muscles and muscle spasms that can cause headache pain. If you already have one of my books, especially either Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, or The Pain-Free Athlete, you have the tools necessary to get relief.  You can look at the colorful charts and find the area where you are feeling pain or stiffness. Then look for the muscle name that is in the same color as the shaded area of your discomfort. Then, follow the arrow and it will bring you directly to the spasm(s) that cause the pain. The figures above show some of the muscles that can cause headache pain when stress causes them to get tight and spasm.

Relief From Stress Headaches

As you see in the charts above there are multiple places where spasms will cause headaches.  Actually, there are a lot more than this, but that’s why I wrote my “Pain-Free Living” book. It’s just too much for a newsletter.

Each of the spasms noted in these two charts can be treated by applying direct pressure onto the spasm and then holding it for 15-30 seconds.  Use as much pressure as you can, but it must always be in the tolerable range, this is NOT a “no pain-no gain” situation.  It is going to hurt because you are forcing toxins out of the muscle fibers, and the toxin is an acid (from lactic acid) so it burns. However, you’ll find that as you continue holding the pressure it will lessen.

After 30 seconds, keep your fingers in the same place but take off the pressure. Wait for 5 seconds and then re-apply the pressure.  It won’t hurt as much this time because blood has filled the void and it’s already starting to heal the muscle.

Keep doing this until you don’t feel pain anymore, and then look for another point.  I call these points “hot spots” because that’s exactly what they remind me of.

Feel around your head, your neck, and your shoulders and apply pressure on each painful point.  You’ll be pleased when you feel the results! If it’s stress related, your headache pain will be gone.

Health Tips From The Professor