Are you someone who feels like you always have a million and one things to do and just feel like you never have enough time? Maybe you’re trying to find some sort of pain relief in-between your physical therapy appointments at home, but just don’t know what to do? Well then I am here to the rescue! As a massage therapist, here at OSR in Kailua and someone who works way too much, finding an hour to take for myself to get a full body massage is nearly impossible. My favorite trick is to use a lacrosse ball at home to self-massage.
Now you don’t have to use a lacrosse ball you can use just about any object that is around that size, tennis ball, golf ball etc. I personally like using a lacrosse ball because it’s a little smaller than a tennis ball and much softer than a golf ball. I believe they go for about $3-5 on Amazon.
Back and Shoulders
You can use the lacrosse ball on almost every muscle/trigger point in your body. The upper shoulders/traps are one of the areas that a lot of our patients hold a lot of their tension. To use that ball, you may choose to lay on the ground or sit up against a wall, whatever is easier or more comfortable for you. Place the lacrosse ball on the area that is of concern or bothering you and leaning your body/back into it. Same goes if you are using the ball while lying on the ground. But if you are someone who typically does not like very much pressure, like myself, I suggest sitting on a stool and leaning up against a wall. This way you will have more control of how much pressure is being applied rather than laying on the ground as it’s all your body weight being applied as pressure. You may choose to leave the ball on each trigger point if you’d like or move it up and down to hit different areas.
When working the lower back with the lacrosse ball, I like to start off standing and slowly come to a wall squat position, this way the ball will move up my back. Another personal favorite technique that I like to use at home involves two lacrosse balls. Tape the two lacrosse balls together (I recommend using medical tape of some sort to hold them together) then place them at the top of your neck. Lay down on the ground so that you have good control over your movement and slowly shift/push your body towards your head you will start to feel the lacrosse balls roll down your back. Once it gets down to the end of your lower back shift/push your body down towards your toes until they have returned up to your neck. Now if you are a patient here at OSR you will know this is very like our fabulous mechanical traction tables we have at our office. It may not be quite as relaxing considering it takes a little manual labor, but it helps when your sore and at home.
To stretch your hamstrings, start with the hamstrings sitting at a 90-degree angle with your legs dangling off the ground (choose a hard/firm bench or stool where your legs can be hanging off). Place the lacrosse ball starting at the glutes and slowly lift your leg up and down and you should feel the pressure being applied. With this movement, the ball will slowly make its way down to your knee. Feel free to move the ball around (outer hamstring, inner hamstring) to wherever you are feeling pain. To stretch your quads, lay on the floor and place lacrosse ball under your body. Start close at the hip bone and with your arm in a plank like position slowly move yourself up on the ball so that it is hitting the side of your leg.
To stretch your feet out, you decide whether you want to sit or stand. Standing requires a little more balance so if you aren’t comfortable with it, start out sitting. Place the lacrosse ball under your foot and roll the ball back and forth. This simple stretch helps relieve pain for people with plantar fasciitis or for people who wear heels often.
As much as this will help temporarily, this is not a permanent fix and there are some areas that you can’t quite get like a massage therapist could in a full body massage here at Oahu Spine & Rehab. But if you’re just looking for some quick relief while you’re at home sitting on the couch this is the perfect tool to use. Can’t quite hit that spot? Treat yourself to a full body massage every now and then here at OSR in Kailua, YOU DESERVE IT! Give us a call today to make an appointment at 488-5555!