10 pain-fighting moves with a tennis ball (2023)

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we love to use itfoam roller exercisesto release those pesky pains, but sometimes they can't get into a tight space as well as a pair of human hands. The next best thing after a massage? This series of mini self-massage techniques from yoga teacher Jill Miller's new book,the role model.Using nothing more than a couple of tennis balls, these movements penetrate the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue to break up adhesions so muscles can fully contract and lengthen, says Miller, who developed this method while performing a cross country training and found a substitute in the capable hands of his physical therapist. They also relieve aches and pains and increase blood flow. So he grabs a couple of tennis balls (you know there's one buried somewhere in the garage) and starts.

If you have...tired feet

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Fitness Photos by J. Miller

Attempt...exclusive search
Because it helps:The ball relieves stiffness in the muscles, joints, and connective tissue of the sole of the foot.
How do you do that:
1.If you're standing against a wall or chair for stability, place a ball under the arch of your foot. Keep your heels on the ground and let your body weight sink into them. Breathe deeply for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2.Slowly rotate your foot from side to side so that the ball crosses your arch. Repeat for 1 to 2 minutes.
3.Roll the ball from end to end across the foot for 1 to 2 minutes.
4.Repeat on the other foot.

If you have…stiff knees

Attempt…kneeling ball
Because it helps:The ball acts as a spacer to gently bring the leg bone, kneecap, and femur together. This creates an internal stretch within the often tight knee joint capsule.
How do you do that:
1.Sit on the floor or in a chair and place the ball behind your bent knee, as close to the outside of the knee as possible.
2.Try to contract your muscles against the ball by temporarily "pushing" it for a count of 10, and then relax your muscles for a count of 10. Do this 8 to 10 times.
3.Repeat on the other knee.

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If you have…tight thighs

Attempt…IT band collapse
Because it helps:The balls cause movement in the often tight IT band and the external quadriceps (vastus lateralis) muscle. This move also helps relieve strained knees and hips.
How do you do that:
1.Sitting on the floor or in a firm chair, place 2 balls on the outer thigh. Holding the balls on the side of your thigh, slowly bend and straighten the knee for 20 repetitions.
2.Move the thigh from side to side so that the balls cross the side of the thigh. Repeat for 2 minutes.
3.Repeat on the other side.

If you have… hip pain

Attempt…hip support
Because it helps:This movement targets several large and small muscles that attach to the sides of the hip (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and pitiform). These muscles can become tight from sitting too long, exercising too much, or wearing high-heeled shoes.
How do you do that:
1.Lie on the floor and place a ball next to your hip, then lean into the ball. Make slow circles with your hip and leg as your leg rests on the ball. Circulate 12 times in each direction.
2.Repeat on the other side.

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If you have…A spasm in the back

Attempt…lumbar relajante
Because it helps:This movement massages and releases tension in the many back and core muscles that intersect in the lower back.
How do you do that:
1.Place 2 balls vertically between your buttocks and ribs and lie on them. Inhale deeply as you rock your pelvis from side to side so that the balls cross your entire lower back. If you wish, you can put the balls in a bag, sock or sock.
2.Move the ball slower in areas where you feel stiffer and ease pressure when near your spine so the balls don't get stuck on your bones when you go from right to left or cross from left to right.
3.Breathe deeply as you roll for up to 5 minutes.

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If you have…bad attitude

Attempt… Upper back relaxation
Because it helps: This movement is a posture corrector, it relieves tension in the upper back and also helps tone your breathing.
How do you do that:
Lie down and place two balls side by side on each side of your upper back. (You can put them in a bag, stocking, or stocking if you like.) Clasp your hands behind your head and lift your head off the floor, bringing your chin to your chest. Lift your butt off the ground and take three deep breaths down to your ribs.
2.Keeping your breath strong and steady, roll the balls up and down your upper back like a roller for 3 to 4 minutes. (Try these6 more posture corrections.)

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If you have…a tight chest

Attempt…chest decompression
Because it helps:This move loosens overworked chest muscles that get tight from holding cell phones, typing on computers, cooking, or carrying children. It restores breathing and also relaxes the nervous system.
How do you do that:
1.If you're leaning against a door or a wall corner, place a ball just below your clavicle. Spend at least 1 minute just breathing in the pressure of the ball.
2.Switch from side to side so that the ball rolls over your upper chest while continuing to breathe into the ball for 1 to 2 minutes.
3.Try to flex your arm and neck as you move to add extra mobility to your shoulder. Continue for 1 minute.
4.Repeat on the other side.

If you have…tense shoulders

Attempt…shimmer off shoulders
Because it helps:This move addresses some of the rotator cuff muscles that are often strained due to overuse, poor posture, and repetitive motion.
How do you do that:
Place a ball behind your shoulder blade while lying on the floor. Try to move your shoulder in as many directions as possible for 3 minutes on each side. Your arm will look like seaweed floating on the water.

If you have... tired hands

Attempt…hand in hand
Because it helps:This move helps relieve particularly tight flexor muscles in the hand. Hands are often overworked from holding children, computer mice, handbags, and other hand tools.
How do you do that:
1.Place your hand on a white ball on the floor or stand on a table. Place your other hand on top of it to apply more pressure, and squish the ball down with your body weight on it. Hold the ball for 1 minute while taking a deep breath.
2.Move the ball back and forth and then up and down, creating a star shape as you roll it onto the palm of your hand. Continue for 2 to 3 minutes.
3.Repeat with the other hand.

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If you have…in torticollis

Attempt...reset neck
Because it helps:This movement calms the suboccipital and erector muscles, which are responsible for keeping your head on the computer screen all day. They become stiff and tight, especially from lack of exercise. It is also very relaxing to do it before bed.
How do you do that:
1.Place two balls side by side in a bag, sock or sock and place them under the base of the skull while lying on the floor. Breathe while resting for 1 minute.
2.Gently nod "yes" as the balls settle into your neck for 1 minute.
3.Turn your head from side to side as if to say "no." Continue for 1 minute.
4.Turn your head to the side, stay there, and nod your head a few times. Then turn your head in the opposite direction and nod your head again. Alternate back and forth for 1 to 2 minutes.

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How do you use a tennis ball for pain? ›

Apply Concentrated Pressure

Apply pressure by lying on top of the tennis balls or pressing your back against the chair. Move around gently until the tennis ball presses against the sore muscle group. Do not tool the ball directly over the spine. If there is sharp or sudden pain, then stop immediately.

What does rolling a tennis ball under your foot do? ›

While it doesn't strengthen the feet, rolling a tennis ball under your foot can stretch the bottom of the foot and loosen up your plantar fascia. This exercise relieves tension in the plantar fascia and makes it less likely to become irritated. It also improves circulation in the area.

How do you use a tennis ball for shoulder blade pain? ›

While standing facing the edge of a wall or doorway, place the Tennis Ball just below your collarbone. 2. Lean forward past the edge of the wall and slowly roll the ball on the chest and shoulder area. Once you find a tender spot, relax into that position.

Does rolling on a tennis ball for back pain? ›

Tennis balls act like foam rollers and can be useful in relieving lower back pain. Massaging the lower back with tennis balls can help loosen soft tissues, release tension, relieve entrapped nerves, and improve flexibility. Massage therapy for the lower back can help relieve pain and increase blood flow.

How do pain balls work? ›

Summa Health is the only healthcare system in the region using the pain ball, a small disposable pump filled with a local anesthetic medication to relieve your pain after surgery. It continuously delivers the medication, which blocks the pain in the area of your procedure.

What are the two bumps on your lower back? ›

A lipoma is an abnormal overgrowth of fat cells that form a lump under the skin. They are considered to be benign (noncancerous) tumors. When a fatty deposit is found in the area of your lower back, the obvious answer tends to be lipoma. But some may refer to it as a back mouse.

Why does foot rolling feel so good? ›

Regular foot rolling will improve the mobility of your feet, which influences how your knees, hips, and spine align. It will also help release tightness up the whole back line of your body.

How long should you roll your feet? ›

Perform for 2-3 minutes on each foot.

How long should you roll your foot on a ball? ›

A great way to help loosen up this tissue while simultaneously decreasing pain and inflammation is to roll the bottom of your foot along a frozen water bottle, lacrosse ball, or tennis ball for 5-10 minutes.

Can a tennis ball relieve muscle knots? ›

Place the ball on the affected muscle and roll it firmly over the knotted area for 30 secs – 2 mins. The muscle might twitch- keep massaging until the twitching stops. If it makes the discomfort flair up a bit keep gently rolling until this subsides. Then stretch the muscle.

Is it good to roll out lower back pain? ›

Foam rolling exercises make a fantastic addition to your self-healing repertoire. This self-myofascial release technique can safely and effectively relieve tension, tightness, and pain in your back.

How do you get instant relief from shoulder blade pain? ›

  1. Home remedies. Some people find relief from shoulder blade pain with therapies performed at home.
  2. Exercise. Exercise can help strengthen areas in your back, which may help lessen your shoulder pain. ...
  3. Stretching. Share on Pinterest. ...
  4. Diet.
  5. Rest. ...
  6. Hot or cold therapy.
  7. Therapy. ...
  8. Massage therapy.

What pressure point relieves shoulder blade pain? ›

How to find it: The acupressure point is in the groove on the back of the hand between the 4th and 5th fingers. The groove is below the knuckles. Directions: Massage and stimulate the area using deep, firm pressure. Repeat on the other hand.

What is a pain buster? ›

ON-Q PainBuster®: a small disposable pump that continuously delivers local anaesthetic which is connected to an ON-Q soaker catheter.

What drug is in on-Q? ›

The ON-Q pump is designed to deliver local anesthetics to surgical sites for non-narcotic pain relief. The company's product information suggests using ropivacaine, bupivacaine, or lidocaine.

Can Ball pain harmless? ›

A swollen or painful testicle should not be ignored as it can be a sign of an urgent and serious illness. Remember to regularly check your testicles for new lumps or swellings. Your doctor can show you how to do this if you are unsure. Most lumps are not cancer, but it's important to have them checked out.

Why do I have a big pimple on my lower back? ›

It happens when sweat, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria get trapped in your skin's pores. Backpacks, sweaty shirts or sports equipment can create friction on your back and worsen back acne. You can treat back acne by keeping your skin clean and using acne-fighting skin creams.

What causes back knots? ›

‌Muscle knots usually happen because a muscle has been irritated by a repetitive motion. Athletes will notice muscle knots after training one group of muscles for a long period of time. A muscle might also knot up when it's in an awkward position for too long.

What causes lower back muscle knots? ›

Most often, overuse causes the problem. That could include lifting heavy objects or performing the same activity over and over. Other things can also contribute to the development of muscle knots, including: Bad posture.

What happens if I massage my feet everyday? ›

Just like your neck, back, and shoulders, your feet can also benefit from a regular rubdown. Foot massage improves circulation, stimulates muscles, reduces tension, and often eases pain. It also gives you a chance to check out your feet so you can get a jump on treating blisters, bunions, corns, and toenail problems.

Does foot massage help brain? ›

It activates your nervous system, which increases feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins. In one study, people who got foot massage after surgery to remove their appendix had less pain and used fewer painkillers.

How often should you roll your feet? ›

Before finishing up, you should press down on each of the tender areas for another 15-20 seconds. This exercise should be repeated several times a day, and you should begin to notice an improvement relatively quickly in most cases.

What is the 1 foot rule? ›

Noun. 1. foot rule - a ruler one foot long. ruler, rule - measuring stick consisting of a strip of wood or metal or plastic with a straight edge that is used for drawing straight lines and measuring lengths.

How do I keep my feet healthy as I age? ›

How to care for aging feet
  1. Wash and thoroughly dry your feet for good hygiene.
  2. Wear a fresh clean pair of socks and change them daily.
  3. Keep the insides and outsides of your shoes clean.
  4. Rotate your shoes — don't wear the same pair two days in a row.
  5. Wear properly fitted shoes.

How do you get a knot out of your foot? ›

Foot massage for general pain
  1. Sit in a comfortable chair or on a sofa.
  2. Place a golf or tennis ball on the floor, just under your foot.
  3. Roll the ball around with your foot until you find a sensitive spot, or pressure point.
  4. Press down with your foot just enough to feel the point soften.
  5. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

What is the fastest way to cure heel pain? ›

Treat Your Heel Pain With These 6 Methods
  1. Rest, rest, rest. The best thing you can do for your heel pain is to rest as much as you can. ...
  2. Stretch Your Feet. Stretching your muscles and tendons promotes blood flow to the areas being stretched. ...
  3. Ice to Reduce Inflammation. ...
  4. Use Pain Relievers. ...
  5. Shoe Inserts. ...
  6. Avoid Painful Shoes.

Can you strengthen foot muscles? ›

Strength exercises will allow your muscles to provide better support and protection for your foot as a whole. You can do these gentle stretching and strengthening exercises three days per week or as often as every day to increase your range of motion and strength for lifelong foot health and vitality.

What helps foot arch pain? ›

Foot Arch Pain - Home Remedies that Work
  1. Rest Your Feet. If you have foot pain especially in your arch or plantar fascia area you need to rest your feet. ...
  2. Use Both Ice and Heat. ...
  3. Massage Your Arch. ...
  4. Perform Routine Stretches. ...
  5. Invest in New Footwear. ...
  6. Use Orthotic Insoles or Arch Inserts. ...
  7. Nighttime Splints. ...
  8. Foot Soaks.
14 Jul 2021

Can rolling your back cause damage? ›

The greatest risk of injury to the back with foam rolling is using it directly on the vertebrae of the neck or on the mid-to-lower vertebrae of the back. 6 Doing so requires using intense muscle control to keep the proper form and hold the roller in place at a trigger point.

How do you loosen tight muscles in your lower back? ›

Lie on your back flat on the floor with your knees bent. Lift your hips and place a firm cushion or foam roller underneath. Completely relax your body into the floor and into the foam roller/cushion. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat the stretch 3 to 5 times, resting 30 to 60 seconds between each set.

How long does it take to rub out a muscle knot? ›

It takes time for the muscles to adapt to a new motion or recover from stress. Usually within a week or two a muscle knot will resolve on its own.

Why won't muscle knots go away? ›

Muscle knots won't go away on their own. Once they develop, they will continue to build because they are trying to protect the area. To release it, you'll need to contract your shoulder muscle and work to break up its fibers.

How long should you lay on a tennis ball? ›

If you have a specific point of soreness in your back, D'Angelo recommends taking that tennis ball—or something firmer, like a lacrosse or golf ball—and using the floor or a wall to wedge that ball against your sore spot. Hold the ball there for 30 to 40 seconds, then try to stretch out the surrounding tissue.

What is the best position to lay in for lower back pain? ›

The best position to avoid back pain is lying flat on your back. Even so, many people find it the hardest way to enjoy deep sleep. For optimal spine alignment, place one pillow underneath your head or neck and another underneath your knees.

What should you not do with lower back pain? ›

Top 11 Dos and Don'ts if You Have Lower Back Pain
  1. 1) DON'T Sleep on your Stomach.
  2. 2) DO Regular Stretching Exercises.
  3. 3) DON'T Look down for hours at a time.
  4. 4) DO Get Regular Chiropractic Massages.
  5. 5) DON'T Sit for long periods of time.
  6. 6) DON'T Perform certain exercises (or anything that causes you more pain)

Is ice or heat better for lower back muscle pain? ›

When you first notice your soreness expanding to your lower back, it is important to start ice therapy immediately. This should reduce tissue damage, inflammation and pain. If the soreness continues after one day, switch to heat therapy. Switching to heat therapy should encourage tissue healing.

How long should you sit on a tennis ball? ›

You will want to work with these points regularly, gradually restoring healthy muscle tone. If you don't have any particular soreness in the hamstring but you want more stretch, simply move the tennis ball down the leg inch by inch, holding for 15 to 30 seconds in each place. Stop just above the knee.

How long should I roll a tennis ball under my foot? ›

Another good way to help keep the plantar fascia loose is to roll out along the bottom of the foot. A great way to help loosen up this tissue while simultaneously decreasing pain and inflammation is to roll the bottom of your foot along a frozen water bottle, lacrosse ball, or tennis ball for 5-10 minutes.

Is squeezing a tennis ball good? ›

Gripping a tennis ball is an easy way to work on your grip strength and help combat hand pain you may be feeling from doing more chores and housework than usual. Try this move from Prevention.com: Tightly squeeze a tennis ball in your hand.

Do tennis balls need air? ›

It's all about the air

There's nothing quite like the feel of a fresh tennis ball that's full of bounce. This bounce is caused by air that's pumped into the ball. As the air pushes against the inside of the ball it creates pressure.

Is tennis ball faster than cricket ball? ›

From the question, it is clear that velocity of both the balls is same. But mass of the cricket ball is more than that of tennis ball, and hance cricket ball has more momentum.

Do tennis balls go flat? ›

Tennis balls will wear out (some much more quickly than others), leaving them feeling heavy and 'dead'. They lose their responsiveness, go flat, do not bounce as high and go dull in colour.

Do tennis balls last longer? ›

Playing at a recreational level, a can of pressurised tennis balls will last anywhere between 1-4 weeks of light to moderate play.
Tennis Ball DurationRecreational PlayCompetitive Play
Pressurised Balls1-4 weeks of moderate play1-3 hours of constant play
Pressureless Balls1-3 years of moderate playNot recommended

Should rolling your feet hurt? ›

It may be uncomfortable at some points, but it should never cause sharp or unbearable pain. If at any point this becomes the case, simply reduce the amount of pressure you are applying to the object, or swap out the item with something more forgiving such as a foam roller or tennis ball.

Can you roll your feet too much? ›

Excess pronation, or overpronation, is more serious and leads to more injuries. When you overpronate, your foot rolls inward and your arch tends to flatten. You will show wear on the inside of the soles of your shoes. Excess pronation can lead to pain in the arch, heel, ankle, shin, knee, hip, and back.

What is the 1st rule of massage therapy? ›

First do no harm – to yourself!

Why does ball massage feel so good? ›

Massage balls can be used for trigger point therapy and acupressure which can help relax tense muscles, relieve tightness, create more space in the body, work out knots, and increase your blood circulation. The added benefit of using massage balls on a regular basis is to prevent injury and pain.


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