What's with the Ball?
Some of you may ask yourself what’s with the ball that Dr. Samantha & Dr. Dustin hand out? For those of you who have received a ball this blog post will guide you or remind you proper ways to implement the ball into your care. For those whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, odds are that upon this occasion you may receive a dark green tennis ball. I have handed out many of these tennis balls and may not have had the chance to explain fully how you can use the ball to help decrease common pain symptoms. Hopefully, this post will fully answer the question “What’s with the Ball?” but if your question is not answered please feel free to contact me.
One of my goals for my patients is to have ways to relieve their symptoms at home. I call this home care. My ultimate goal is to help you decrease your pain through chiropractic adjustments but often time patients may still have lingering tender areas in-between treatments. These tender areas are often related to trigger points and tightness within the muscle. When an area of the spine is restricted, the muscles attaching to it are put under stress. This stress causes the muscles to attempt to restore motion in the spine by tightening. As time goes on and the restriction in the spine continues to go untreated, the muscles continue to battle against the restriction and continue to fail. Due to its failure, the body will begin to recruit more and more muscle fibers to fight against the restriction. Often, we will seek massages because we can tell that our muscles need to relax, but we don’t seek care for the cause of the muscle tension, which is the spinal restriction. What I’m trying to say with that long-winded explanation is that the use of the tennis ball is intended to supplement chiropractic treatments not replace them.
So still, what am I supposed to do with the ball? Following a chiropractic treatment, many of my patients are told that they need to stretch, ice and roll out their muscles with the tennis ball. These three things are important for their home care and will allow them to progress more quickly to be pain-free. Many of us already know what muscles are hurting or tight on our bodies so I would like you to start there. I suggest using the tennis ball by placing it between your tender muscle (neck, mid-back, low back, glutes) and the wall. By pinning the tennis ball between you and the wall you are creating your very own trigger point tool. You may have to wiggle around a bit to hit all the tender spots. Once you have found a tender spot, also known as a trigger point, stay on it with pressure that you can tolerate for about 30 seconds. Continue this process of finding trigger points with the tennis ball throughout the tight muscle and come back to areas you feel could use extra care. Another technique that can be used is, while standing against the wall, maneuver your body to allow the tennis ball to roll around on your back or whatever area you are treating. This will feel more like a nice massage and you are able to determine the pressure you would like. One more common use for the tennis ball is to help plantar fasciitis pain. Simply place the ball on the floor and while seated or standing, massage the bottom of your arch. Be sure to roll the ball all along the length of the foot for the best results.
The descriptions within this blog are very general to help the most people possible. There are specific instructions that may be given to patients who seek chiropractic care, as well that will be tailored to your specific problem. If you would like specific instructions related to your problem, please feel free to call or email us.
Dr. Samantha Hague, DC