By: Rebekah Frizzelle-Owens, LMT, BCTMB, CPMT, CIMI
Many people live with chronic upper back pain. If it is due to muscular irregularities caused by poor posture, stress, or too much time at the keyboard, you can try these easy self-massage techniques – all done with a tennis ball!
Using a wall is the easiest and most convenient way to use a tennis ball to massage your back. Lean in to it gently and roll around until you find your tight areas. Press in on them with as much or little press as is comfortable for as long as is comfortable. Ideally, it will "hurt so good" (which is generally a 5-7 on the 0-10 pain scale) and will feel satisfying. The ball can go anywhere on your back - EXCEPT your spine - including middle and lower areas.
Place the ball between you and a firm-backed chair. Again, move the ball around anywhere on your back, avoiding the spine.
No wall or chair? Try a sock.
Try placing the ball in a sock and pulling it around on your back using both hands.
Although this is a little more difficult than the chair or the wall and the pressure isn't as firm or deep, but still feels really good.
The most important thing is to listen to your body.
Press in when it feels good and lighten up if it hurts. Roll around on the ball and find all of those tight areas. When you find that pesky knot, press in on it for a few seconds, then move around slightly while pressing in. Bouncing doesn't usually help and can cause you to lose the spot.
If you are not sure, ask your professional massage therapist or another health care provider with expertise in this area.
About the author
Rebekah Frizzelle-Owens, LMT, BCTMB, CPMT, CIMI is Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and a Maryland State Licensed Massage Therapist who has been practicing massage for over 11 years. In addition to being trained in prenatal and therapeutic massage for adults, she is a certified pediatric massage therapist (CPMT), a certified infant massage instructor (CIMI), an advanced Reiki practitioner, and has studied numerous massage modalities, including hot stone massage, Lomi Lomi, Tibetan Relaxation Massage, Isometric Muscle Balancing, acupressure, reflexology and others. She works full-time as the PR Specialist at the Center for Integrative Medicine, part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she also lectures about massage to medical students and in the community. She sees massage clients in her private practice.
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