Relief For Aches & Pains

When it comes to body pain, especially in the joints or muscles, most people take is as a normal part of ageing. This is not necessarily a predicament that one has to live with.

If we have pain or imbalance in our muscles, our movements may become restricted. The tightness will affect our neck, shoulders, hip flexors and lower back and eventually will lead to a host of other complications that will put a damper into our lifestyle. A simple flight of stairs will seem like a huge challenge.

A simple test! As soon as you wake up in the morning; observe yourself – does it take a while to feel easier to move? This is the first sign that your muscles and joints are not in their optimal health

Trigger Points

A trigger point is not a muscle spasm. A spasm is a sudden hard contraction of the entire muscle. A trigger point is a contracture of only a small area within the muscle. Almost all of us have trigger points somewhere in the musculature in a latent state. At some point, the symptoms show up, such as headaches, neck and jaw pain and other pain that flares up unexpectedly. Causes of trigger points are muscle strains, overuse of muscles or muscle abuse, accidents, bad posture, vitamin and mineral insufficiencies and psychological issues.

Making Trigger Point Therapy Work For You

An effective way of treating trigger points is undoubtedly seeking professional help. However, the good news is that you can also be your own therapist – you can treat yourself whenever you need it. Only you know where it hurts exactly and the intensity of the pain.

Trust me, when you discover your trigger points and treat them, you will feel empowered, as you know that you do not have to live with the pain, which has been bothering you all these while. Some pain goes away very quickly and some take a bit longer to clear up. Address one area at a time.

While there are diverse ways of treating trigger points like deep stroke massage, Thera cane, tennis ball, lacrosse ball and its likes in the market, I always opt for big smooth ball for abdominal release and spiky balls for thoracic, lumber and glute area. Stretching to ease muscle tightness is fine, except that muscles that have trigger points are often chronically shortened and contracted. They simply do not respond to stretching that easily.

Trigger Pain Therapy is very effective. Once you locate your muscle “knots” or trigger points, you can apply gentle and gradual pressure to them. When done correctly, this pressure will eventually cause the trigger points and their associated muscles to relax. You can roll before yoga, after yoga, or after sports. Anytime you feel a tight, tense and uncomfortable sensation in your body – get on your ball!

The following are some trigger point therapy techniques that you can try:

  1. Stretching Routine

Stretching is one of the ways to treat myofascial pain. Releasing the trigger points either by way of massage or with a ball softens the muscle, thus enable lengthening with stretch therapy. Stretching after release should be pain free.

No matter how you stretch, please bear in mind that it is vital to treat the trigger points first and stretch right after release. Beware – sometimes too much pressure on the tender spot can cause bruising. But do not worry, the bruise will disappear in a few days. Apply ice in areas which are sore for about 10 minutes.

  1. Hamstring Routine

Let us look into one of the most common issues – tight hamstring. Sit on the floor or a chair with the ball under the right ischium (sitting bone) and the right leg proximally extending out as straight as possible if seated on the floor. Bend the left leg with the foot flat on the floor for stability and move the body. Also, press the fingertips against the floor for balance.

Roll on the ball forwards and backwards, side to side, clockwise and counter-clockwise to stimulate the origins of the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, long head of the biceps femoris, and adductor magnus. Breathe in deeply and sink your body weight toward the ball as you exhale. Repeat this a few times.

Place the ball under hamstring tendons. Move the body side to side. Sink the body into the ball and then stretch the leg out. Next, move the body to stimulate the muscle belly and end at distal of the posterior femur. Do not roll the ball behind the knee, as there are lymph nodes, blood vessels and nerves behind the knee. You may use your hands and gently massage the back of the knees to release trigger points of popliteal muscle.

Slowly get off the ball, have legs extended, and observe the difference between the two sides. Slowly stand up and walk to feel how light one side has become. Repeat the above sequences on the left side.

You don’t have to live with pain. You can have a ball of a time with a muscle release routine.

A freelance yoga instructor, certified first aider and an energy healer, trained under Deep Yoga. Mala.R realised yoga asanas and breathing were not enough to help students with physical issues when she started teaching. That led her to pursue studies of muscle release techniques with Yamuna Body roll. She also studied Myofascial techniques with Penny Elliot, Anatomy Trains (Tom Myers), and yoga anatomy study with Leslie Kaminoff to understand the role of musculature in our day-to-day life and living pain free life. You can contact Mala at malapeter@gmail.com