Spikey massage balls help to ease muscle tension
Massage balls work on the myofascial system to reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow, increase body awareness, and aid in injury prevention and rehabilitation. By targeting trigger points, massage balls can reduce pain levels and improve range of motion through specific muscles and subsequently improve joint motion.
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Tips for using Spikey Massage Balls:
- Work slowly– This gives the muscle and surrounding tissues the chance to release with the work of the massage ball.
- Breathe– There is a reason that you are told to breathe during meditation, yoga and any other kind of relaxing exercise; it helps relieve tension. If you hold in your breath whilst using the massage ball, you are more likely to tense up and hold tension in the muscles.
- Focus on your sore spots– If you notice an area that is especially tight or sore, don’t just move past and ignore it – you may need to hold your position for around a minute or more to really help relax and loosen the muscle.
- Remember that the massage should not be painful– If it is triggering pain, then you may be using too much pressure, so ease up. If that doesn’t help, try changing to a softer ball such as a tennis ball, change your position, or see your health professional as there may be other issues that may need to be addressed.
- Do not use on recent injuries– Any cuts, bruises or recent sprains/strains should be allowed time to heal before you try to use your massage ball. Using the ball before this time is likely to impede healing
- Check in with your health professional – Of course it is always advised to check with your chiro/myo/physio or other health professional to have a full assessment to determine the cause and extent of your problems, which will then help determine if spikey ball self-massage will help you. They can also help you with technique advise you on specific muscles to address for your individual body.
Techniques for specific areas:
One way to perform this massage, that allows you to control the pressure applied, is to stand against a wall, placing the ball between the wall and the area of your glutes that you want to work on. Use your body to gently roll the ball around. Some people find it helpful to bend their knees slightly, lean forward and rest their hands on them to really help control the ball and more easily massage a larger area. Remembering to pause and hold on sore spots until they ease off.
Another way to massage your glutes is to sit upright on the floor with your legs out in front of you, or you can lie down with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Then place the ball under your glutes, use your hands to stabilise yourself and then gently roll.
There are a few ways that you can massage your feet and they include sitting in a chair and simply rolling your feet over the ball in whatever direction feels comfortable, applying as much or as little pressure as you want.
You can also choose to stand up, holding onto something for balance, and then stand carefully on one leg, gently moving your foot to get a deep massage. Perform for at least 2 minutes on each foot.
Shoulder and Pecs Massage
Whilst leaning against a wall, place a massage ball on the inside of your shoulder joint located near the end of your collar bone, then gently roll the ball across the pectoral region to the midline (sternum) by gently moving your body from side to side.
The key here is to take your time. You can, of course just roll the ball straight across the pectorals, but it is best to focus on specific areas of tightness as you come across them, perhaps rolling the ball in a few directions before moving on.
This same exercise can be repeated on the back of the shoulders, rolling the ball from one shoulder to the other across the top of the back, again taking the time to focus on specific areas of tightness.
This exercise can be completed whilst leaning against a wall which, compared to lying on the floor, gives you greater control over the pressure applied to the area. Bend your knees and place the ball on one side of your low back, then use your legs to gently move your body so that the ball massages the area. Continue this for approximately 1 minute, before moving a little higher, or across to the other side.
This is especially good for that area right between your shoulder blades (desk workers take note!), just ensure you don’t place pressure directly on your spine, instead work either side of it.
Whilst lying down with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent up and arms down by your sides place a massage ball under your neck. Then, very gently as it can be quite sensitive, rock your head back and forth, or side to side, whichever is most comfortable for you, in order to gently massage the neck. If the massage ball feels too firm, try a tennis ball instead.
There are a number of ways to use massage balls, depending on the area of the body you are focusing on. We have outlined some of the most common and useful exercises in this article, however a quick Youtube search can give you further video demonstrations if you need.
About our Chiropractors
Dr Phoebe Sheppard is an experienced chiropractor with a broad range of skills and techniques that can assist you to recover from injury and improve your health. Phoebe is currently undertaking her postgraduate training in Sports Chiropractic and is actively involved in treating athletes. Find out more about her here.