I have a spikey ball, how do I use it?

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Self massage | 0 comments

Most of us somewhere along the way have collected certain self massage tools that we have *every* intention of using at home. But sometimes we may wonder “exactly how do I use this thing?”. Well if your dog hasn’t taken ownership of your spikey ball I’m going to show you my top 5 ways of using it!

My advice for using self massage tools is this – if your Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Massage therapist uses massage as part of their treatment approach with you, then the more you can do some self massage techniques at home, the greater the outcome will be!  If your therapist doesn’t use these techniques and finds a more gentler treatment approach is better for you then likely using a strong massage ball *may* make some of your symptoms worse. Please check with your treating practitioner if you are unsure. 

So here are my top 5 areas to work on:

ONE : Feet

The undersurface of your feet can get very tight! This feels different to normal muscle tightness because there is a lot of what we call fascia under your feet, in particular your plantar fascia. Think of your fascia like the “glad wrap” of the body. It connects everything and blends with muscles to create what we call fascial planes of movement. The plantar fascia is quite thick and when it is too tight we can end up with cramps, pain or even plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia). 

To help this area – stand on your spikey ball (use a towel in between the surfaces if it is too painful) and place pressure down onto the spikey ball, and move slowly. Do 3-5 minutes on each foot. 

TWO : Glutes

We all have 3 gluteal muscles – Maximus, minimus and medius. This area is otherwise known as the “butt” or the “peach” of the body. Tightness in these muscles can lead to a big pain in your butt…. To release these muscles, its best to be lying down but you can also do it against the wall. Place the spikey ball in the middle of your butt and start with lowering the weight of your pelvis onto the ball. Then moving slowly from side to side will help relieve these muscles. Play around with this one, move the ball higher, lower or more out to the hip joint, to find the tight areas. Spend 4-6 minutes each side. 

THREE: Between the shoulder blades – muscles of the thoracic erector spinae and rhomboids. 

This area gets super tight when we have been sitting for too long, cue working from home and isolation! This is best done supine (lying on your back) or you could also do it against the wall. Place the spikey ball in a position of tightness in the mid shoulder blade region and then relax your body weight onto the ball. It helps to use a cushion under your head for support. This is best done as an inhibition type movement; find the spot and hold it there. If you are against a wall you could move up and down to help massage the area. You could also try adding in some arm movements whilst you are holding the position, similar to a snow angle type of movement. Spend 3-5 minutes each side.

FOUR : Trapezius and neck. 

I get a lot out of this one but it is strong, so be careful and don’t overdo it if it doesn’t feel right. This is best done with a towel over the spikey ball. Lie down on it and have the ball to the side of your neck/upper shoulder region. Find the spot, and then slowly move your head back and forth like you are rotating your head side to side. Spend 1-2 minutes each side and repeat twice. 

FIVE: Hip flexor region.  

When we sit for too long, the hips are generally in the 90 degrees position, which means the hip flexors can become tighter. You can help this by having regular stretch breaks – standing up and walking around is sometimes enough to stretch out this area. If you are starting to feel cramping in this area give the spikey ball a go. Lie on your front and place the spikey ball in your hip area. Start with pressure by simply relaxing into the ball, and then you may add some small movements to help release this area. Spend 3-5 min on each side.