How can I help to keep my muscles relaxed by Broadwater Osteopaths, Worthing

Self help- How can I help to keep my muscles relaxed

This is a common question we get asked at Broadwater Osteopaths, Worthing. Spikey massage balls may be an answer to this. 

Many of you may have noticed in the clinic, our lovely spikey balls. Some have commented that they use similar in their tumble dryer, but ours are useful self-massage tools.

The spikey balls are a bit of a marmite, some love them and some loathe them, but personally, I find them to be one of the best things when it comes to self-massage help. They are obviously no replacement for a BOP massage, but they are great to have at home as a top-up.

Even rolling the ball under your foot, whilst it can be painful at 1st, will often make your feet feel so much better and lighter after and improves circulation no end too.

The balls come in several sizes to suit the various body parts we tend to use them on. Small orange ones for the feet, medium yellow ones for the mid back or shoulder area and big blue ones for the buttock or low back areas.

The balls act to relax the muscle and encourage blood flow, by direct pressure from the ‘spikes’. This works in much the same way as trigger point work. It is best to start with a small amount of time using the balls and then to slowly build up the usage, whilst you get used to the feeling. Your therapist will often recommend an area to work on using the ball. Start with this and then progress to other parts if they are painful too.

It is best to work slowly with the ball, not fast and vigourously, as this can lead to increased soreness in the area being worked. Gradually increase the pressure you apply to the ball, but not so much that it becomes intolerable. In our opinion pain does not equate to gain in equal measures! Be kind to yourself and start slow and light then build upon this. Try to remain relaxed throughout, this is supposed to be beneficial remember. Work distant from your main painful bits and work towards them. Don’t go straight in for the kill. This may not need saying, but don’t use them over recent injuries, broken or cut skin, open wounds, bruises or areas of infection.

When you have finished your pleasurable workout, gently stretch the area you have been working on. This will again encourage blood flow and relaxation of the tissues.

Some people choose to in-corporate a cold treatment in to their spikey ball routine, by putting the balls into the fridge or freezer to cool them pre working with them in self-treatment.

Remember, always be guided by your therapist in use of these balls and also by your own pain. Self-treatment is not supposed to be painful or bring tears to your eyes. Go easy. Go slow and build up.

Areas we commonly recommend the spikey balls be used on include.

  • The feet. Whilst seated simply place the ball on the floor, the orange ball may be best for this, and roll your foot over the top of the ball. Start gently and work to increase pressure over time. Cover the whole of the under surface of your foot with the ball. Hunt out tender areas and focus more time on these spots, gradually building it up. Great for plantar fasciitis etc.
  • The bum. Sit down and place a ball under 1 buttock cheek, normally yellow or blue for this. Pull the same leg the ball is under, up towards your chest and gently move your buttock up and down over the ball. Take care with this one not to overdo it or to fall off the chair! By bringing the leg up towards the opposite shoulder, you will feel different muscles being worked. Again seek out sore bits and work over these.
  • The mid-upper back. This can be done standing against a wall or lying down on your back. Place the ball under the left or right side of your upper back, between the shoulder blade and spine. Gently move up and down on the ball to work it up and down your spine. Focus on tender areas and gently work those with the ball.
  • Neck and upper shoulders. Simply hold the ball and roll it into the neck and also across the tops of the shoulders. Go gentle with this one and build it up.

For more hints and tips, speak to our team on 01903 820206. We are always here to help.

Spikey balls are on sale from reception or your therapist from £6 upwards. An ideal token gift for a friend or family member for Christmas maybe!

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