Sciatica should never be confused with back pain. The good news is that these ailments can be relieved with a tennis ball.
Tennis balls reach those tight areas about as good with hands, reaching the deepest layers of muscle and connective tissue, allowing your muscles to fully contract and stretch.
This series of mini self-massage techniques, will help you relieve soreness, pain and increase circulation. So get a couple of tennis balls and start doing these exercises.
1. Foot pain
Using a ball for self-massage loosens stiffness in your sole muscles, joints and connective tissues.
- Lie your hand on a wall or chair. Place the ball under the arch of your foot, keeping your heel on the floor and allow your body weight to sink.
- Roll your foot from side to side, allowing the ball to cross the arch. Continue this motion for one to two minutes.
- Then roll the ball along the length of your foot, moving it from heel to toe. Continue this motion for 1-2 minutes.
- Then repeat both movements (lengthwise and crosswise) on the other foot.
2. Knee pain
By using a ball gently stretches your lower leg bones, patella and thigh away from each other, providing an internal stretch within the knee.
- Sit on a chair, placing the ball behind the bent knee (as close to the knee as possible).
- Tighten the muscles against a ball, squashing down on a ball and counting 10 times, relaxing the muscles for a count of 10.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times and then repeat in the other knee.
3. Calms tight muscles
This movement will help soothe tight knees and hips.
- Sit on the ground and place 2 balls outside of your thigh. Slowly bend and straighten your knee 20 times.
- Next, move your thigh from side to side, allowing the ball to move across the side of your thigh.
- Do this exercise for a total of 2 minutes. Then repeat on other side.
4. Hips pain
Large and small muscles connected alongside of the hips are targeted in this simple movement, including gluteus maximus, medius and pitiformis. These muscles generally become tight when spending too much time sitting, or wearing high heels.
- Sit on the floor and place a ball on your hip side, leaning on the ball.
- Then do slow circles with your hip and leg while lying on the ball, circling 12 times in each direction. Repeat on the other side.
5. Relieves back pain
A fantastic way to massage and relieve pain in your back and abdominal muscles.
- Place 2 balls in the arch of your spine, between your lower back and your ribs, lying on top of them.
- Keep breathing deeply, shifting your pelvis from side to side, allowing the balls to go all the way across your lower back.
- To keep the balls from moving, place them in a sock or stocking.
- In the areas where you feel the most tension, move the balls more slowly, raising the pressure on the spine, so you don’t feel the balls against the bones.
- Repeat for a total about 5 minutes.
6. Improve bad posture
This movement not only combats poor posture, it relieves upper back tension and helps to revive the breath.
- Lie down and place two balls next to one side of your upper back.
- Then interlace your hands behind your head, lifting your head off the floor, bringing your chin toward your chest.
- Keep your lower back off the floor and take 3 deep breaths.
- Using steady breathing, roll the balls as a roll up and down the upper back for 3-4 minutes.
7. Relieve chest pain
This movement will help you relieve pain in overworked chest muscles that often tighten due to cell phone use, typing on computers, cooking or carrying children. It also helps you restore breathing and relax the nervous system.
- Lean against a door or corner of the wall and place a ball under your collarbone.
- Breathe by pressing on the ball, holding this exercise a minute.
- Then switch from side to side, allowing the ball to travel along the upper chest. Breathe for 1-2 minutes.
- If possible, move your arm and neck as you switch from side to side, adding additional shoulder mobility. Continue for one minute, then repeat on the other side.
8. Relieves shoulder pain
Relaxes rotator cuff muscles that tend to tighten due to overuse, poor posture and repetitive motion.
- Lie on the floor and place a ball behind your shoulder blade.
- Move your shoulder in all directions for 3 minutes on each side.
9. Relax tired hands
Hands are often overloaded by everyday activities. This movement helps you to relieve the flexor muscles of the hand.
- Sit on the floor or stand on a table. Place your hand on top of a ball and your other hand on top to apply more pressure.
- Squeeze the ball, resting your body weight on it, keeping the ball steady for one minute while breathing deeply.
- Move the ball from side to side and then up and down, creating an asterisk shape across the palm. Repeat this movement for 2-3 minutes, then repeat on the other hand.