ARE YOU IN PAIN? HELP IS ON THE WAY.

In our previous blog, we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of foam rolling and stretching. The blog outlined a general synopsis that foam rolling, or the use of massage balls on sore muscles should mostly be done in conjunction with some stretching of the area as well. In this blog, we’ll learn a simple foam rolling routine that doesn’t take long, but will help to relieve even extreme pain.

Let’s begin by addressing one of the most common problematic areas, the neck/traps/shoulders region. In this day & age a multitude of people experience frequent pain in this area of the body, and it mostly comes as a direct result of two major influences: bad posture & chronic stress.

In my next blog, we will take an in depth look at how to correct bad posture, with some simple, easy to follow self-assessment tips. As well as addressing the issue of chronic stress, and the effect it has on the body.

For now, let’s focus on attacking the pain itself while momentarily sidestepping the underlying causes.

Foam Rolling the neck/traps/shoulders:

In our last blog we discussed the phenomenon of referred pain. Essentially, the area in which the pain itself is occurring is not the only the area that you should be targeting with your massage tool. If you are suffering from pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulders, or traps, whether it be in one particular spot on one particular side, or throughout an entire area, foam rolling and stretching should always be done symmetrically, while focusing on the entire area. As a general example, you are suffering from a problem in your lower trap, but the pain is presenting at the top of your neck.

Foam rolling & stretching routines can vary, depending on the nature, cause, and placement of the pain itself. Below is a general routine that will help to relieve headaches, ease pain in the neck/trap/shoulder area, while loosening up any tightness in the general area.

Neck/Trap/Shoulder Foam Roll Routine:

Time: 10-20 Minutes.

Tool: Large Size Massage Ball.

Neck:

1. (2-3 Minutes)

-Lay flat on back with knees bent, feet on the floor.

-Place ball at the base of your skull, end of the spine, in the middle of the back of your head.

-Lean weight through the back of your head into the ball, turning your head side to side, following the outline of the base of your head, with your eyes facing the ceiling.

-Massage the top of the neck by moving your head against the ball; continue around the base of skull to your ear.

-Do both sides.

2. (2-3 Minutes)

-Lay flat on back with knees bent, feet on the floor.

-Place ball in the small pocket at the base of your skull at the back of your head.

-Turn head side to side, eyes facing left then right, with weight on the ball through the line of your skull massaging the top of your neck.

Traps:

1. ( 1-2 Minutes)

-Lay flat on your back, with the ball underneath your trap, just to one side of the spine.

-Use your feet on the floor, to lift your hips off the ground thus increasing your weight through the ball, and into your trap.

-Use your feet on the floor to move left and right, up and down, to massage the entire trap area.

-Do both sides.

2. (2-3 Minutes)

-Lay flat on your back and position the ball on your upper trap.

-Hold position with your knees bent and hips raised off the ground (the higher you raise your hips, the more pressure on your trap).

-Straighten your arm and extend it back over your head, then side to side.

-Feel the ball moving over different parts of your trap as your arm moves.

-Adjust your position slightly so the initial placement of the ball is now in a different part of the trap.

-Repeat the arm movement sequence.

-Do both sides.

Shoulders:

1. (2-3 Minutes)

-Lay flat on your back with knees bent, place the ball behind your shoulder where your arm meets your back.

-Bend your elbow at about 90 degrees as you rotate your hand back and forth, back of hand comes toward the floor with your palm facing up, then rotate so your palm is facing toward the floor and the back of your hand is facing up.

-Do both sides.

2. (2-3 Minutes)

-Lay flat on your stomach with ball in your pectoral (chest) muscles.

-Extend the arm of the side you are targeting, with palm down planted on the floor

-Use your free hand on the floor to push your body weight off the ground slightly, while controlling a back and forth movement of your opposite pectorals over the ball.

-Keep your arm extended, while moving it up and down to target different points of pressure on the ball.

-Do both sides

Hopefully, that quick and easy routine has helped relieve some pressure, eased some pain, and maybe even cured a headache.

Remember, the allocated time is just a rough guide, you can do it for more or less time as you desire. The only caution is that if you exceed 15 minutes of massage on one specific muscle, you will probably be causing more harm than good.

In the next edition of this blog series, we will address some methods of preventing the pain/stiffness from appearing in the first place

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