Self Myofascial Release Techniques Using a Lacrosse Ball

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If you suffer from chronic muscle pain, myofascial release may be an effective way to obtain pain relief. Myofascial release is a form of treatment that uses gentle pressure on specific locations of your body for alleviating pain and restoring range of motion to painful joints. While you can perform many of these techniques on your own, it can be helpful to consult a qualified myofascial therapist in the beginning to make sure you're performing them correctly.

About Myofascial Release

Myofascial points, also referred to as trigger points, are located on specific spots on your body on your muscles and the area surrounding this tissue. The term myofascial comes from the word myo, meaning muscle tissue, and fascial, meaning the surrounding area. Trigger points are one of the most common sources of bodily pain and can cause a phenomenon known as referred pain. Referred pain occurs when you press a trigger point but you feel the pain somewhere else in your body. Myofascial techniques are performed by using your thumbs, a tennis or lacrosse ball, or specific tools sold for trigger point release. Many massage and physical therapists also undergo extensive training to become a certified myofascial trigger point therapist. However, myofascial release techniques are intended to be a form of self-help. In addition to treatment, the therapist's job is to instruct you on different forms of myofascial release so you can perform them at home in between treatments.

Shoulder Pain

Almost everyone experiences shoulder pain at some point. This technique will help massage and release trigger points located along the shoulder blade. Place a lacrosse ball inside an old sock. This will help prevent the ball from dropping. Stand with your back against a wall and bring the ball in between the wall and your shoulder, where the soft tissue between your spine and the shoulder bone is located. Holding the end of the sock with one hand, press your body into the wall while leaning on the ball. Move your body around until you feel any tight points. Bend your knees and move your body around to massage those areas with the ball.

Pain in the Buttocks

Pain in your buttocks can also be alleviated using the lacrosse ball. Stand against a wall and place the ball in the center of your buttocks. Press your buttocks into the wall and roll the ball around one side of your buttocks, massaging away tight or tense points. Repeat on the other side. You can also perform this technique while lying on the floor with your knees bent, using the ball under your buttocks and moving your hips around to massage tight spots.

Hip Pain

Hip pain caused by trigger points can be easily treated by using a lacrosse ball. Lie on your side and place the ball under your hip. If your muscles are too tight, the ball cause too much pain at first. It may be easier to use a softer ball, such as a tennis ball or Hacky Sack, in the beginning, until your muscles become more relaxed. Locate painful points on your side hip and move your body around to massage and release these points. According to authors Lucy Whyte Ferguson and Robert Gerwin in their book, "Clinical Mastery in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain," you should avoid the sciatic nerve to avoid worsening sciatic pain. If you are unsure of where your sciatic nerve is located, you should consult a trained trigger point therapist before performing this technique.