Are you suffering from back pain? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. It is an extremely common condition that affects about 80% of people at some point in their lives. That grim fact, however, has an upside; due to how common it is, back pain is also very well researched.
One of the most frequent causes of back pain is sciatica, a consequence of injury or constant pressure on the sciatic nerve, which extends from your lower back and down both of your legs. There are many ways for you to soothe the symptoms of sciatica or back pain in general. One of the more popular (and accessible) methods in recent years is known as tennis ball therapy.
Table of Content
|1.||How Tennis Ball Therapy Works|
|2.||Using a Tennis Ball to Relieve Nerve and Back Pain|
|3.||What Tennis Ball Therapy Won’t Do|
Tennis ball therapy is easy, cheap, and takes relatively little time. Considering how many have found it helpful so far, there is little reason for you not to try it.
How Tennis Ball Therapy Works
The theory behind the approach is simple. Tennis ball therapy works the same way as massages, acupressure, or reflexology. Applied, localized pressure relaxes the muscles and ligaments. It promotes blood flow, which provides relief and prevents the condition from worsening in the long run.
In practice, you lay the sore area on a tennis ball (or a pair of taped-together tennis balls; there will be more on that later), and let gravity do its work. You will initially feel some pain as if a masseuse is working over a tight knot. Within very little time, however, you will start feeling better.
Tennis ball therapy has both a localized effect on the sore area and an overall net positive effect on your body. You will quickly notice a general reduction in the tension of your muscles and connective tissues.
You will also feel more energetic due to improved blood flow, just like after a conventional massage. Your range of motion will expand, both thanks to your muscles relaxing, and there is less pain. Users have also reported feeling more comfortable in general.
Using a Tennis Ball to Relieve Nerve and Back Pain
You can use tennis balls to relieve your pain in several ways. Three of them are extremely popular and for a good reason.
1. Supine Lower Back Massage With Two Taped-Together Tennis Balls
For this method, you will want to tape two tennis balls together so that they vaguely resemble a peanut. That improvised tool may seem strange, but it will allow you to work the muscles on both sides of your spine while minimizing pressure on the spine itself.
It would help if you started by placing the taped-together tennis balls on the ground and lying on them, face-up. They should be aligned so that the bony protrusions from your lower backrest right between them. The erector spinae muscles on both sides of your spine (upper and lower) will contract almost automatically. Make yourself comfortable before proceeding.
Raise both of your arms, keeping them straight and with your fingers fully extended upward. Now, slowly lower one of your arms toward your head until it runs parallel to the floor. Stay in that position for a few seconds, and keep your breathing steady. Then, slowly bring your arm up again.
Repeat the motion, this time with the other arm. For the best results, you should redo the motion four times for each arm.
2. Tennis Ball Lower Back Massage
A single tennis ball can be a great tool for targeting individual sore spots. While lying on the floor, roll a ball under yourself and find that troublesome knot. When you do, gently apply some pressure and make it roll under your weight. Once you are comfortable with the sensation, keep going.
Stop immediately if you feel any sharp pain. It would help if you never allowed the ball to press against your spine directly.
3. Tennis Ball Foot Massage
Yes, massaging the soles of your feet can help stretch your calf muscles and hamstrings, which could lead to reduced back pain.
While sitting on a chair, roll a tennis ball under your foot. Start from your toes, move it under the middle arch, and end the motion under your heel.
You should maintain the pressure throughout the process, but stop if you feel any sharp pain. Keep at it for three minutes.
4. Prone Psoas Release
Kneel on the floor and place a tennis ball in front of you. Supporting your weight with your arms, lower yourself on the ball so that it rests on your belly. Slowly move back and forth for 20 seconds.
What Tennis Ball Therapy Won’t Do
For all its effectiveness, using tennis ball therapy for pain relief will not make your problem go away. If you have a persistent medical issue such as a pinched nerve, treating the symptom will not eliminate the cause. If that is indeed the case, then you probably owe yourself a visit to the doctor’s office. No home remedy is a viable replacement for a professional’s opinion.