Spiky Ball V5 – neck and suboccipitals

Well, we’ve saved the best spiky ball series ‘til (almost) last. The neck.

Our little heroic spiky ball has been used all over the body so far to treat pain, ease tension and improve circulation. You’ve worked into those gluteals, shoulders, even feet! But nothing is more satisfying than releasing tension in the neck and suboccipital tissues.

To clear this up, the suboccipital muscles are 4 sets of paired muscles which sit just below the occipital bone of your skull. If you have a feel at the back of your head, where you might tie a ponytail, there should be a bump. This is the occipital bone. Beneath this on either side are your suboccipital muscles.

So what do they do? And why do I need to jab them with my spiky ball?

They help maintain posture. As humans, we spend a fair amount of time upright but looking down, and these little beauties help us hold our head up. That’s why they get a little tight from time to time, and benefit from a bit of soft tissue release.

So we know the spiky ball 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 helps to increase blood flow and heat in the area being massaged.

The massage balls range in size from 6cm to around 12cm diameter, and come in varying degrees of firmness. This picture may help to show you the difference between the 2 balls we use:

Spiky Ball

We physiotherapists recommend using the firm ball for the suboccipitals, and the softer ball for the neck and top of shoulder

How do i use it for my neck?

Gradually, nod your chin down towards your chest (even more double chin, awesome). You’ll feel the ball move down into your neck muscles, but stay central: don’t move your head side ways just yet.

Then you can begin to look back up, allowing the ball to move into the muscles just under the back of your skull. This may be fairly uncomfortable, so go at your own pace and take it easy

Now, keeping the ball in its central place, slowly turn your head left and right. This can hit some very strong trigger points (sore spots) so take it easy. Onlookers may spot some strange facial expressions whilst you do this one.

Finally, take the soft ball in between the top of one shoulder blade and the top of your shoulder. It can take a bit of practice to get the positioning of this one right so the ball doesn’t roll away. It should sit in the “meat” of your trapezius muscle. Support your head with one hand or use a small cushion.

Take your free hand and stretch your arm up and over your head. You may not want to go all the way up, but work into the top of shoulder and find that lovely release.

If this doesn’t help your aches and pains, and you need a bit more assistance, please let your physiotherapist know.

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to see a physiotherapist, please call Physioflexx on 01560 483200.

Further Information

If you have any questions about neck, back or shoulder pain, or would like to book an appointment to see a physiotherapist, please click here to book. Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

For all equiries : Contact – Physioflexx Ayrshire on 01560 483200.

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