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 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

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:

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

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.



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.

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 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,


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

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.

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 ( 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.

A New Year’s Gift For You

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert
Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

Welcome To 2021

celebrationIt seems like only a few weeks ago that we were getting ready to greet 2020. And in another way, it seems like it was an eternity ago because so much has happened during the past year. Personally, I am glad 2020 is over and I am visualizing a HEALTHY New Year for everyone!

But before we throw 2020 on the trash heap, let’s focus for a minute on the good things that happened in 2020. Yes, you heard me right – the good things!

Recently I was talking to a group of people, safely on Zoom, and someone asked us to discuss all the GOOD things that happened this year. What good things happened as a direct result of COVID-19?

For me, my therapy practice melted away and gave me many empty hours in my day. Like so many of us, the shift in income was scary. But, again, like so many of us, I decided to focus on what I could accomplish, and ignore the rest as best as I could.

If you come here to my office, you know that my therapy techniques are quite different than most of my colleagues in the massage world. I call my techniques “the Julstro Method of Osteopathic Muscular Therapy,” because early in my career I had the good fortune to be trained by a retired osteopathic physician. He taught me many osteopathic techniques that aren’t normally taught to massage therapists, and it has served me well. Even better, it has served my clients well, helping thousands of people who were at a loss for finding solutions to pain.

With my extra time, I asked myself how I could help even more people with my massage therapy techniques.

Lots Of Good Things Happened To Me In 2020

I have dabbled at training other massage therapists for several years, but COVID-19 put that training into hyperdrive! Suddenly I was creating instructional videos to teach others my techniques. A BIG shout out to Sherri Proctor for being the most talented, and patient, videographer in the world. Sherri is awesome and if you live here in the Sarasota vicinity and you need a videographer/photographer, I can’t recommend her highly enough.

We began with a series of videos demonstrating every self-treatment that are in my books, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living and The Pain-Free Athlete.

I want to thank Barbara Shelby and Greg Hurst for being my models and making what could have been a difficult task become an easy one. I wanted videos (now in flash drive format and MP4 format) so people could easily follow how to do the Julstro self-treatments. Sherri did hours and hours of editing, again doing a fantastic job. She no sooner finished one project, and I was off to a new one.

Our next project was taking the videos I use when teaching massage therapists live, in a school setting. Sherri videoed me doing all the talking/teaching I do before and after each video. This was a monumental task, and Sherri did a great job.

My goal is to make these videos available to the world, so everyone can learn easy techniques that will help them achieve pain-free living. It is a big goal, but I hope to accomplish it this year. Check on my website ( periodically to see when those videos become available.

One More Good Thing In 2020!

In early December I was interviewed on a podcast, “Be Healthy in a Hurry.” The interview went live on Dec. 29th (, so if you enjoy podcasts, I hope you will listen to it. Just click on the link and scroll down the page until you find my podcast.

What Good Things Have Happened To You In 2020?

This month I have spent a lot of time rehashing 2020 because I think it is important to look at the bright side of this unusual year. What good things have happened to you because of COVID? Write them down, I believe you will be amazed at how many things you have to be thankful for as 2020 draws to a close.

Let’s count our blessings!

A New Year’s Gift For You

Now that the holidays are over and 2021 is here, we all need to take a breath and relax. At least that is the goal. So, with that in mind, my New Year’s gift is meant for you to release tension from your body.

A little background on this New Year’s gift. About 30 years ago I was working as a massage therapist on a cruise ship. It was fantastic! The most consistent fun I ever had in my life.

On the ship we all had multiple jobs, and one of mine was to do a relaxing meditation the first morning of the cruise. That was the seeds of the MP3 that I am sending you this month. It worked so well that people started asking me to record it. It was funny how I managed to do that when you remember that I was on a cruise ship and it was before we had cell phones or fancy recording equipment. But I got it done well enough that people were able to leave with a cassette tape they could use at home.

Fast forward to my office in New York in the mid-late 1990’s. I would talk clients through the relaxation techniques, changing them as I went along so they would address each individual’s specific problems. Then a client offered to professionally record it for me. Wonderful!

I decided to make this recording beneficial for everyone, focusing on multiple problems that can cause people to suffer from painful, and in some cases, life-threatening conditions. I am happy to say that many people have been able to get relief and turn their health around by using the relaxing techniques in this MP3. The title is “Mental Massage – Relaxing into a Perfect Body (”. I hope you will enjoy it!

Help Me Help You

I want this newsletter to help you live a Pain-Free Life. With that said, please send me an email ( and let me know what you would like me to discuss. Muscles cause pain all over the body and cause the same symptoms as arthritis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and so much more. If you have a problem, please let me know and it will be the topic for one of these newsletters.

In the future I won’t be writing one of these articles every month, but I will respond to your questions and your needs. Please help me help you by sending in your questions.

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 Sinus Pain

Are Spring Allergies Ruining Your Time Outdoors?

spring flowersThe lovely month of May!  The air is warm, the breezes are soft, and the flowers are blooming.  We’re surrounded by nature coming alive as animal’s pair-up to again start the circle of life, and it’s all beautiful!

Hopefully, you are having the opportunity to go out and enjoy this wonderful time of year.

So many of us have been forced into inactivity due to all that is happening around the world, and not only does that add to your stress level, it also doesn’t benefit your body.  Hopefully, you are doing some type of purposeful movement at home.  My recommendation is:

  • Step 1: Exercise at home. There are many exercise programs on the internet so you can move along with the instructor.
  • Step 2: Self-treat the muscles you just exercised. Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living or The Pain-Free Athlete books are perfect to show you exactly where to find the knots that are putting a strain on your joints.  Find the shaded area where you feel tension/pain and then do the self-treatment to untie the knots in the muscle.
  • Step 3: Finish your exercise session off with stretching to release the tension in the muscle. There is a perfect safe-stretching routine taught in Focused Flexibility Training. It’s self-treatment of each muscle you’re going to stretch, followed by a 30-minute yoga routine.

Movement is important for the proper functioning of so many systems in your body, including your circulation, digestion, and your immune system.

Are Spring Allergies Ruining Your Time Outdoors?

This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the great outdoors. It is a time to enjoy spring flowers, plant your gardens, and enjoy long walks, perhaps with your dog(s). But if you have sinus problems because of spring allergies, the outdoors is no fun. You may have sinus headaches. You may have sinus pressure that feels like you have a vice around your skull, pressing into your eyes and temples. You may even have a challenge keeping your eyes open.

I received several emails about sinus problems, most likely caused by spring pollen.  As a result, I figured it would help the most people by talking about how to ease the pressure in your sinuses this month. I want you to be able to enjoy the outdoors this spring without worrying about sinus problems.

Relief From Sinus Pain

To relieve sinus pain, take your three middle fingers and put them onto your cheeks as shown in this picture.  Your back teeth should be under your fingertips.

Press UP onto your cheekbones, as if you were trying to push your fingers into your eyes and the bone is in the way.

Alternate sides so you press up on your left side, hold for 5 seconds, then release while you are pressing up on your right side.  Keep going back and forth.

You can move along your cheekbone, going all the way next to your nostrils.  Then press the same way into the bone on both sides of your nose.

Finally, press into your eyebrows, close to midline, so you can be adding pressure onto the sinus cavities directly underneath your fingertips.

It will help if your head is tilted back a little so your sinuses can start to drain. Visualize pressing and squeezing your sinus cavities as that is exactly what you are actually doing!

By the way, this has also helped people who have a sinus infection because it enables the sinuses to drain, and then I always use a sinus rinse mixture and a squeeze bottle to wash the pollen out of my sinuses.

Trigger-Point Yoga And Focused Flexibility Training Update

Like so many people who are stuck indoors, I’m finding all kinds of projects that have been neglected for a long time.  One that has been on my mind, but never had enough time to do anything about, is a wonderful safe-stretching program that was developed back around 2010.

It was actually put together by an incredible yoga instructor named Ana.  Ana had a calf pain that wasn’t being resolved with yoga, so she finally searched online, and she found me.  She bought my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living,” and she also had a telephone consultation with me (I didn’t do any online meetings yet) to discuss her situation.  I told her which treatments to do and she was shocked that in just two days her pain and stiffness was gone.

The missing piece in yoga is stretching the muscle fibers without first untying the knots (spasms) that put a strain on the joints.  Yet, doing some simple techniques releases the knots and you can stretch without overstretching the muscle fibers.

Ana looked into the self-treatments for her hips and she was surprised to find multiple spasms. After treating them her yoga got better. That inspired her to do the self-treatments for her shoulders and sure enough, she had spasms that she treated, and her yoga got even better.  She knew this was something that needed to be shared with yoga-lovers everywhere.

After we met by telephone, she shared her ideas with me and Trigger-Point Yoga (TPY) was born.  Ana did an amazing job putting the program together.  I was filmed teaching an athlete named Scott how to do all the treatments taught in my book, which we called “The Foundation.”  Then Ana designed and filmed two sessions, one for the upper body and one for the lower body. Each session starts with 15 minutes of self-treating the muscles that will be stretched, and then 30 minutes of yoga stretching.

I found that athletes didn’t want to take a yoga class, but when I changed the name to Focused Flexibility Training, they were excited to do the program.

If you would like to stretch safely, without potentially tearing tight muscle fibers, I suggest you bring Trigger-Point Yoga into your home. For only $67 you can do the entire thing in your living room or den and feel more flexible than you have in a long time!

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