How You Can Use Therapy Balls as a Self-Care Tool
We live in a world of constant doing. We find ourselves juggling work, family-life, social outings, volunteer commitments and so much more. Carving time out of our days for ourselves can be challenging. It is also often the first thing to go when life gets even busier. We push that workout or yoga class to the weekend. And when the weekend comes around we tell ourselves that me-time will have to wait until next week. However, taking time and taking care of ourselves will allow us to be more productive, more effective, healthier and happier.
Self-care comes in many different forms. When talking about your musculoskeletal (MSK) health, self-care could mean exercise, stretching, mobility drills, soothing baths to name a few. Our chiropractors and massage therapists at Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre include many self-care tips and recommendations when working with you. Therapy balls or yoga balls are a great tool to help you and your body. They can be used to provide relief from myofascial (muscle + fascia) tension that causes pain, discomfort and physical stress.
When using therapy balls, you’re in the driver’s seat. By locating specific trigger points that are causing you grief, you control the amount of pressure applied. Enough to do some good, but not enough to irritate your nervous system. Pressure on a muscle knot should generally be clear, strong and satisfying. It should have a relieving and releasing quality.
Whether you sit at a desk all day or you are training for a 10k race (or both), you likely experience myofascial pain, discomfort, and tightness. Therapy balls can be used to soothe sore feet, loosen tight hips and relieve shoulder stress. Check out how your body can really benefit from a few minutes of self-care with therapy balls daily.
- You can release tension in your upper back and shoulders after a long day at the office with your therapy balls.
- While leaning your back against a wall, place one ball between your spine and shoulder blade on the left side. Start to gently move your body as a unit by bending and straightening your knees. The ball will massage the muscles between your shoulders blades, your rhomboids.
- If you find a knot or trigger point, spend a few more seconds there, leaning in more, and breathing deeper.
- Explore your upper back and shoulders with the therapy ball against the wall. You will uncover other areas of tightness that need some self-care too!
- Don’t forget about the other side! Spend 3-5 minutes working out the stress in your shoulders and upper back. Repeat daily!
- If you are feeling a little stiff in your low, and your chiropractor has given you the go-ahead to roll it out, try the self-release below. You will feel a deeper pressure than when you roll your low back with a foam roller.
- Place two therapy balls side-by-side in their tote or in a sock. While lying on the floor, place the balls across your low back.
- Your feet and elbows are on the floor to support your weight. Rest your low back onto the balls. Move them around to fight tight spots between your pelvis and lower ribs. If this is too much pressure, you can perform the same release against the wall.
- Breathe deeply into the abdomen.
- We get tight hips from running, cycling and sitting at a desk all day. The therapy balls can help loosen up tight hip muscles and prevent low back pain.
- You can target all the muscles around your hips with the therapy balls including your glutes.
- Lie down on the side and place a therapy ball under your hip. Start slowly rolling across the hip.
- This can be uncomfortable as most of us have extra tight hips. Each time you find a tender or trigger point, stop moving and let the ball push into it. Try to relax and breathe deeply. When the pain dissipates, move to another spot.
- Sore feet? Our feet support us through our commutes, our workouts, and our not-so-supportive footwear choices. We need to keep our feet happy and healthy. They are our foundation! Roll away those aches with the method below.
- Stand near a wall or chair and place one therapy ball under the arch of your left foot. Allow your foot to mold its way around the ball. Move the ball slowly with mild pressure from top to bottom and side to side.
- If you find a particularly tender spot, stay there for a few extra seconds.
- Roll the ball directly into the ball of your foot squeeze and release your toes into the ball. Repeat 10 times slowly.
- Switch to the right foot and repeat. Spend 1-5 minutes rolling out each foot.
- How much of your day is spent texting or typing? Your hands can benefit from some self-care too. And we’re not talking manicures here.
- Place your right hand on top of a therapy ball on your desk or a counter top. Set the ball at the base of your thumb. Rest your left palm on the back of your right hand to add more pressure and to help guide your right hand.
- Move the ball by spinning it right and left as if juicing an orange for 1-2 minutes.
- Find spots near the base of your thumb that are tight and lean pressure while breathing deeply for 1 minute.
- Relax your right hand off the ball and switch sides.
Now it’s time to step away from the computer and incorporate some self-care into your day! Get your Yoga Tune Up balls at Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre. They are great to have at your desk for times of tension or in your suitcase when you are traveling. Need more guidance when it comes to your aches and pains? Book an initial consultation with one of our chiropractors! We are here to help!