Spiky ball series part 3 is here, read on to discover some more uses of this little spiky friend- or foe.
We’ve seen in our previous blogs how the ever adaptable spiky ball can be used to treat pain, ease tension and improve circulation. You can find out more about using this special little massage tool/torture implement on your feet and your buttocks here (https://bit.ly/3qNP7DK) and here (https://bit.ly/3t4CAyS).
Massage is a wonderful skill, and the spiky balls are a great time- and cost-effective way of releasing tension yourself, without the need for a therapist. The best thing about it is that you are in charge of the pressure. Your physiotherapist’s thumbs (elbows) can have a day off.
We’ve already heard about how massage works by creating pressure and stimulation through the skin and into the tissues of the body. Including muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia (connective tissue). This increases blood flow and helps to reduce blood pressure. The pressure desensitises nerves, and helps us move on from (or at least around) pain.
Today, let’s take our spiky ball focus to the shoulders. Many of us will have been sitting for the majority of the Christmas period! This is a great way of releasing the thoracic spine and shoulder blades to help us improve our posture for the New Year.
It is best to work with 2 spiky balls if you can. Starting with the balls a couple of inches apart on the floor, slowly lower yourself from a sitting to a supine lying position.
Each ball will sit in the “meat” of muscle and soft tissue between your shoulder blades (rather than on the bony shoulder blades). You may need a small pillow if your neck feels strained in this position.
Depending how much you can tolerate, that might be enough for you. If not, lace your fingers at the back of your head and slowly relax your shoulders back to the floor or mat. Return to neutral and repeat this a few times until you feel comfortable.
We’re going to work into the rhomboids muscles between the shoulder blades. First, lift both arms straight up above your chest. Slowly take your arms out to each side and down towards the floor, then back up. You might be aware that one side is more painful (or satisfying!) than the other. That’s normal.
Now we’re keeping those arms up above the chest. We are going to slowly move the thumbs up and over the head towards the floor. You might feel the need to lift your bottom and slide down your mat a little to allow the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles to feel the squeeze. These are muscles which tend to gather tension when our postures are poor, and when we sit for long periods. Bringing the pinkies back up and over the chest, you can repeat each of these moves for 10-12 repetitions or until you feel a release.
It’s worth noting that this area can be a lot more tender than the buttocks or feet. So, taking your time is key. Work within your own limits. You should feel that by the end of your spiky ball session, you can sit up a little taller, and even look a little further over each shoulder when you turn your head.
If you have any questions about back or shoulder pain, or would like to book an appointment to see a physiotherapist, please click here to book. Book Online - Physioflexx Ayrshire
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Previous Blogs on our Spiky Ball series can be found here: