I guess it was somewhere in my thirties that I began to become intimately cognizant of my mortality. My bodies ability to mask and repair damage quickly and in the background, began to falter. I started noticing little kinks and aches that lasted beyond the initial incident and linger with me like that kid in grade school who just didn’t get the hint- “I don’t really want to be your friend dude.” Don’t judge me, it was grade school.
Since then, the incidents of aches, pain and accidents incurred while executing movements that I previously pulled of with my eyes closed, have increased exponentially. Truth be told, this is one of the reasons I became a fitness trainer. I’ve always been an information junkie. I needed to know what the heck was going on and what could I do to prevent it.
My research revealed that I needed to change the way I was treating my body. I needed develop a program to strengthen my areas of skeleto-muscular weakness and relax their corresponding excesses. Through self experimentation I discovered that many of my aches were do to hypertonicity.
Hypertonicity is an increased tension of the muscles, meaning the muscle tone is abnormally rigid, hampering proper movement. This condition is the opposite of hypotonicity. Hypotonicity is a decreased tension in muscle tone. A lack of muscle tone inhibits proper movement as the muscle is not developed or is too soft to support the body.
So, information junkie that I am, the next stop for me was massage school. There I learned simple time tested techniques for relieving hypertonic muscles. But there was still a problem. Occasionally I would have pain on my own body that I either could not reach or could not apply the proper pressure in order to relieve the pain. Back to the drawing board.
The solutions I found were in the use of a few simple inexpensive tools that everyone (at least everyone over the age of 35) should have in there homes. First up, the Thera Cane. This is a deep pressure massage device that can be used to gently (or not so gently) massage muscles on any part of the body. What I like most about the Thera Cane, is that it greatly reduces the amount of strength you need to get deep into the muscle. I use it mainly for trigger point work. Relieving a trigger point requires that you apply continuous pressure to a pin point area for up to a minute. Sounds simple until those minutes start adding up. You can get a Thera Cane online for about $30.
The Dolphin Massager gets the most use in my arsenal. Slaving over a hot computer to bring you folk these illuminating and popular post (i have total of 10 followers as of today, woohooooo!) can lead to aching upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. The dolphin relieves that pain for me in a matter of minutes. It’s also good for relieving lower back ache. A client was purchasing these to give as Christmas gifts a few years back. Sharper image was going out of business and selling them for about $20 bucks each. I asked her to get me one also. (are yo u starting to see a pattern here. some say i’m cheap, i prefer frugal.) The Budgetnista would be proud of me). This is a purchase that has paid for itself a thousandfold.
Research over the last ten years has directed the attention of bodyworkers and fitness professionals to put more time into releasing myofacial tissue. Muscles are covered with a sheath of connective tissue (fascia) that helps them glide over surrounding tissues. This tissue can loose its pliability and stick to adjacent muscles, bones or ligaments. I use foam rolls and my own body weight, to reduce pain and tension resulting from restricted fascia. Foam rollers run anywhere from $15 to $40 depending upon the length, type of foam and manufacturer.
Ball of varying sizes can also be used for myofacial release work. There are balls made specifically for this technique, but tennis balls, soft medicine balls and other firm balls of various sizes have worked just fine for me.
So if you suffer from acute aches and pains and looking for some tools and techniques to help you spell relief. Give these a try. If you need some extra direction, hit me up.