Trigger Point Massage Ball
Ah, the humble tennis ball
Best buddy to the common muscle knot!
Some creative tips on using an ordinary tennis ball and other massage tools to self-treat muscle knots and myofascial trigger points
One of my massage therapy clients once described an experience she’d had with an orthopedic physician:
He didn’t know about using tennis balls for massage! He asked what helped my back pain, and I told him I always lie on a tennis ball. He looked at me like he was going to refer me to a psychiatrist! How can an orthopedic surgeon not know about the tennis ball thing? Doesn’t everyone know about the tennis ball thing?
Unfortunately, no: not everyone knows about the tennis ball thing. But it is a time-honoured simple solution for chronic muscle aches and pains, running a close second to “the hot tub thing.”
A tennis ball is a cheap, handy, portable self-massage tool. You can use it for the self-treatment of “knots” in your muscles, technically known as trigger points. Having too many trigger points chronically is known as myofascial pain syndrome. In this basic article, I serve up (*sad trombone*) some fun tips on how to use a tennis ball — and similar tools — to relieve knots in your muscles. Or at least try without the expense of a massage therapist. (They’re lovely, but they ain’t cheap.)
The basic idea of tennis ball massage
It’s exactly like foam rolling, but less trendy and more precise. The basic idea of tennis ball massage, or any massage with any kind of ball, is to apply pressure to muscles with it by trapping it between your body and something else: usually the floor, sometimes a wall, or another body part.