Do you have tight muscles? If the answer is yes, you likely have trigger points. Trigger points = “knots” = a contracted area of muscle. These trigger points cause pain, weakness and restriction in your motion. With use of a lacrosse ball you can do self-trigger point releases on many muscles. To release a trigger point it takes tolerable but firm pressure for 1-3 minutes. This pressure interrupts the constriction of the muscle and overrides the pain signal. 

The lacrosse ball is the preferred choice over a tennis ball because it is firmer and grips the wall. The ball is an inexpensive portable self-massage tool. They are like a mini foam roller but have more accuracy and versatility. The ball can be used against a wall, sitting or on the ground. If you can tolerate a small amount of pain for a brief amount of time, lacrosse ball rolling is for you. You may utter the words “it hurts so good,” and at that point you are hooked for life. 

The technique: Place the ball between you and the chosen surface. Roll the ball by moving your body in different directions, like a bear rubbing on a tree, until you find a trigger point. Apply tolerable pressure with your body, breathe and relax into the pressure until the muscle releases (approximately 1-3 minutes) at the point the ball will sink into the muscle. To help the muscle retain that more relaxed state, roll the ball around that area for a gentle massage. You may even find more knots to release. Only treat a few trigger points at a time or it may result in sore muscles. Also consider stretching and/or using heat on those muscles to help any soreness. Remember to drink plenty of water as it helps flush the waste released from the muscles. 

The most common areas rolled are the upper back (around shoulder blade), pectoralis (chest) and the glutes. Once these techniques are conquered there are many more muscles to release in different positions.  

 

Upper back (around shoulder blade): Place the lacrosse ball between you and the wall and between your spine and shoulder blade. Move ball in various directions until you find a trigger point. This area will be more tender to the pressure of the ball. Relax and apply as much body weight as you can tolerate until the muscle releases then move the ball around in various directions for a gentle massage. Repeat as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

Pectoralis (chest): Find an outside corner of a wall (your head and opposite shoulder will be in the open space). Place the lacrosse ball between your upper/outer chest area and wall. Move ball in various directions until you find a trigger point. This area will be more tender to the pressure of the ball. Relax and apply as much body weight as you can tolerate until the muscle releases then move the ball around in various directions for a gentle massage. Due to the brachial plexus (nerves) running through the shoulder, you may feel some numbness or tingling with the compressive force. Adjust ball positioning and continue as able. Repeat as needed.

 

 

Glutes: Place the lacrosse ball between your glute (buttock) and wall. Move ball in various directions until you find a trigger point. This area will be more tender to the pressure of the ball. Relax and apply as much body weight as you can tolerate until the muscle releases then move the ball around in various directions for a gentle massage. Don’t forget the outer muscles. To roll them turn your body to the side. Repeat as needed.

 

 

 

 

Using this technique daily to help release knotted muscles can help you feel great. 

If you have any questions or are struggling to get some of those stubborn knots released, schedule an appointment online or give one of our clinics a call.

Happy rolling!