One of the latest tools to join the Beyond MOVE THROUGH LIFE shelves is the trusty lacrosse ball. You may have seen them floating around the clinics, wondering what they are and what they are used for. They’re a firm, dense ball that is used for self-myofascial release, similar to the spikey ball (but without the spikes). Fascia is a sheath of connective tissue that surrounds all muscles and other organs of the body. When the fascia is impeded, it can alter movement patterns and cause pain. When fascia and muscles are tight, they can increase the tension placed on a joint or other muscle and cause poor alignment of the body. The aim of myofascial release is to stretch and loosen the fascia and underlying muscles to allow the tissues to more more freely.
The benefits of myofascial release are endless and may include:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Increase joint range of motion
- Decrease joint pain and muscle soreness
- Improve posture
- Decrease inflammation
The lacrosse roll can be used in many areas of the body, including;
Tight glutes may contribute to hip and back pain. By releasing the glutes, it may allow for better hip and back mobility.
How to do: Sitting on the ground with your knees bent, place the ball under your glute. Roll on ball, find a tender spot and hold to allow the muscle to relax over the ball. Hold this for 30-60 seconds, or until the pain reduces.
Tight hamstrings may also contribute to hip and low back pain whilst altering movement pattern.
How to do: Sitting with the lacrosse ball under the thigh, find a tender spot and slowly flex and extend the knee over this point. Repeat this movement for 30-60 seconds, or until the pain reduces.
Tight quads may contribute to knee and hip pain
How to do: Lying on your belly, place the ball under thigh (on top of quadricep muscle) and move around until you find a tender spot, then flex and extend the knee. Repeat this movement for 30-60 seconds, or until the pain reduces.
- Hip flexors
Tight hip flexors may contribute to low back and hip pain as well as knee pain.
How to do: Lying on your stomach, bring the ball towards the top of your thigh, find a tender spot and allow the muscle to relax over it. Hold for 30-60 seconds, or until the pain reduces.
- Upper trapezius
Tight upper traps may contribute to head, neck and shoulder pain
How to do:Leaning against a wall, place the ball on your upper back. Find a tender spot and allow the muscle to relax over the ball. Another great way to release the upper traps is to lie on your back with the ball placed under the upper back/shoulder. Bring your arm by your side then slowly raise it towards the roof then up and over your head, then return the arm back by your side. Repeat 10-12 times.
- Gastrocnemius/Soleus (calf muscle)
Tight calves may contribute to knee and foot pain
How to do: Sitting on the floor with legs extended, place the ball under the calf muscle. Find a tender spot and flex/extend the foot. Repeat 10-12 times.
- Plantar Fascia
Tight plantar fascia may contribute to foot and ankle pain
How to do: Place the ball under the arch of the foot and slowly roll ball back and forth along the arch. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
The lacrosse ball is a great tool that can be used in conjunction with all the services that Beyond has to offer. Ask our friendly reception team or one of our Osteopaths, Myotherapists, Remedial Massage therapists, Podiatrists and Exercises Physiologists about how the lacrosse ball can help you MOVE THROUGH LIFE at your next appointment.