Let’s face it. Most of us are not going to get acupuncture or massage treatments seven days a week. But pain can happen at any time — just sleeping in a crooked position on your pillow or sitting too long at your computer can create aches and tension that seem intolerable. The good news is that there are tons of self-care techniques you can use to ease pain right in your own living room. Not only that, but the care you give yourself between treatments actually increases the efficacy of the work done by your practitioner.
Self-care is the greatest thing you can do to bring about long-term healing. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a requirement. It can be the deciding factor in whether you get better or not.
Getting a treatment is akin to going to the mechanic to have your tires rotated or your engine checked. It’s necessary to see an expert from time to time. Meanwhile, self-care is like checking your tire pressure or getting an oil change. It has to be done on a regular basis if you want to keep the car running efficiently and ensure that the work done by the mechanic has the maximum possible effect. It’s the same with your body: you’ve gotta take care of it. Which is why I recommend making self-care a habit starting today.
The piece of equipment I most recommend for self-care — and the one I use most often myself — is a lacrosse ball. It’s just the right size and density for treating most types of muscle dysfunction.
How to use a lacrosse ball for self-care
All you have to do is place the ball between your body and a wall or underneath your body when lying on the floor. Rolling gently back and forth you can find the most painful spots. Then, by experimenting with how much you lean on the ball, you can modify how much pressure is applied. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much relief this technique can provide. If you’re having a hard time picturing this, check out the video demonstration on my website.
An added trick I recommend is placing the lacrosse ball inside of an old sock. That way you can hold the sock in your hand to prevent the ball from falling as you move around against the wall. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be treating your own muscle pain in no time.
As far as self-care tools go, the lacrosse ball is one of the best. It even has benefits beyond helping you treat the source of your pain.
- It’s compact and portable, which makes it great for travel.
- It has the correct hardness — roughly between a tennis ball and a golf ball. Not too soft and not too hard is best for most applications.
- It’s cheap. Lacrosse balls run about five dollars or less at most sporting goods stores.
- They come in different colors. Express yourself!
The simple combination of lacrosse ball and wall offers an easy way to treat practically any part of your body any time you experience pain. Plus, you’ll be providing yourself with the routine maintenance needed to sustain the effects of your most recent professional treatment.