Ok, today’s post is just a quick one about a super simple, but really effective way to manage neck, back and shoulder pain. (Or pain anywhere else for that matter)
All you need to do is get a small ball, I find the bouncy balls you get from vending machines or little novelty discount shops are great, but you could also use a baseball/softball.
So just place the ball inside the sock like this…
What Are Trigger points You Ask?
A trigger point is basically a little knot or nodule in a muscle which is very irritable and tender. So if you touch it, you’ll know about it. They come about from muscle fibers which stay in a constant state of contraction, so this can hinder proper use of the muscle, limit full range of motion, and cause pain, discomfort and ‘tightness’. They can also refer pain to other areas of the body, its common for trigger points in your neck to lead to headaches or migraines for example.
So if you’re feeling pain, discomfort or tightness somewhere on your body, there will most certainly be trigger points involved. They’re generally about the size of a pea or slightly smaller in small muscles like in your neck, and upper back, but in larger muscle groups like your legs they can almost feel like hard stringy bits of spaghetti under your skin!
Some of the most common places to develop these tight, tender trigger points are in your upper back and neck muscles shown in the diagrams below.
Generally from less than ideal posture from sitting at a desk a lot of the day
Some common trigger points and areas of pain
But you can use the ball to literally get in to any tight spot on your body like lower back, glutes, chest etc. A foam roller can hit a lot of tender spots in your legs as well, depending on your pain tolerance you can use the ball to get in a little bit deeper and more specific. Odds are if you are in pain anywhere, you feel very tight somewhere, or get frequent headaches, then relieving trigger points will solve the problem, or at least help you manage the problem a lot better.
Other common areas for trigger points
You’ll find you get used to using the ‘ball in sock’ and manipulating yourself and your body weight around on it to give yourself a great massage, for FREE.
Seriously this will be the best $2 you’ve every spent, I’ve never had a massage that’s as effective as a 5-10 minute roll on my ball in sock, and the best part is you can do it a few times per day for even just a couple of minutes to really get stuck in to a tight area thats giving you grief.
To conpletely get rid of some trigger points that have been around a while, they need to be ‘massaged out’ a few times per day for a few minutes each time, and in a few days you’ll feel brand new. It’s just not feasible to have a massage every day, let alone a few times per day if need be.
Just be sure to do it around people your comfortable with or in the privacy of your own home, as you may look like a bit of a weirdo to others who aren’t privy to such awesome information.
If you’d like to learn more about managing your pain or headaches, below is a link to an awesome book which will really help. You can basically use it to troubleshoot areas on your body you are feeling pain, or tightness and find the corresponding trigger points, how to locate them and how to treat them.
One of the most useful books I’ve ever bought.