Monday, March 16, 2009

Pain management with a tennis ball

Tennis, golf, and whiffle balls are great for helping you get in shape, and not just on the playing field! In this post, I'll tell you about how using these balls can help you relieve pain, stiffness, and tension at home, the office, even on the road.

Find a tennis ball and tie it in the toe end of a long sock or knee hi. You've now created a tool that you can use in several ways to work on acupressure points and tight muscles. Want to know more about pressure points? See my book list for suggestions. Don't worry about knowing specific spots, though, just work where it hurts!

Cup the ball in the palm of your hand to apply pressure to an acupressure spot or sore area and save your thumbs.

Dangle the ball between your back and a wall to work the muscles on either side of your spine, the muscles on the shoulder blade, and that pesky spot on your hip. You know, that one right in the middle of the back pocket of your jeans. Working this point means that you will have less low back and leg pain. This point is very helpful in alleviating sciatic pain.

Holding the knot and tapping the ball on pressure points or tired muscles provides relief. Use this bouncing motion only on soft tissues, not on bony areas. Go gently at first until you learn what your body wants. Tap the top of your shoulders, your forearms, the back of your neck. Or have your partner tap all over your back.

Use an old golf ball to give your feet a treat. Simply place it on the floor and use it to apply pressure to the soles of your feet. Try chilling the ball in the freezer to help cool down tired feet at the end of a long, hot day. Pay special attention to those sore spots.

Hold a tennis, golf, or whiffle ball between your hands. Squeeze and roll to give your palms and fingers a much needed massage. Keep a ball by your computer to remind you to take good care of your hands!

Most dollar stores carry small round or football shaped balls that have stiff spikes on them. (Look in the toy section.) Try using them for your hands and feet, too. Careful, though, these balls are delicate compared to tennis or golf balls. Squash your tension, not your tools!

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