Trigger Point and Self-Myofascial Release With Lacrosse Ball

At UBE, our goal is to improve joint mechanics for suitable function and restore appropriate length tension relationships of soft tissue. Some of our manual treatment involve trigger point release techniques. Some of our patients can replicate these techniques at home using a tennis or lacrosse ball on the trigger point itself.

Trigger points are “knots” within a taut band of skeletal muscle that is often reactive, tender and irritable when pressure is applied to that area. If the trigger point is chronic, it may or may not be tender to touch and then is called a “latent” trigger point. Trigger points will often refer pain to nearby body regions, particularly if the trigger point is creating dysfunction with daily living.

Below are common applications of lacrosse ball trigger point therapy we teach our patients to overcome their functional obstacles:

 

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PECTORALIS MINOR

The pec minor responds well to using a lacrosse ball on the wall. By placing the ball about 2 inches below the middle of the clavicle, lean your body into the ball on the wall. Hold the ball in that location for a few seconds before moving the ball slightly to the next location.

 

 

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SCAPULAR BORDER

The area between the upper scapula and spine. Trigger points can be addressed with a lacrosse ball to help relax the upper traps that are often used in the activity. The progression would be to add dynamic movement of the arm into flexion overhead and back down to the hip for several reps.

 

 

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GLUTES

There are areas of the deep glutes that respond better to trigger point releasing with a lacrosse ball. While sitting on the floor, place the lacrosse ball toward the tissue near the greater trochanter (hip joint). Hold in this position for 30 seconds each side with light rolling pressure.

 

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Foundational strength and why it’s important

Foundational strength refers to strength and stability surrounding the major joints in the body, typically involving smaller muscle groups. Improving foundational strength improves your overall mechanics and creates a stronger base from which to build upon.

Starting an exercise program without first addressing foundational strength can increase the risk of injury and limit your potential for strength gains causing a plateau in your fitness goals.

This recommendation also pertains to physical therapy clients recovering from chronic pain, injury or surgery. An exercise program should start with a good foundation upon which to build, and as the foundational strength improves, higher-level exercises are initiated with greater overall outcomes.

While working on foundational strength may not be as fun or glamorous as plyometrics and Olympic lifting, to get the results you are after, both in the fitness world and during your rehabilitation, you can’t skimp on this part of the program. 

Shoveling 101

snow

We live in Maine, there’s bound to be snow…and at times, a lot of snow.
With all the snow, there is a lot of shoveling that many Mainers will face.

Shoveling snow may be the most physically challenging exercise you face this winter (and many times into late fall and early spring). Snow shoveling is a repetitive exercise that can involve heavy weighted lifting and pushing. It can lead to muscle strain or injury, especially to the low back or shoulders if done incorrectly.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) offers helpful tips to keep in mind when shoveling snow:

Prior to shoveling:

  • Stretch muscles to warm and loosen them to prevent strains and tears.
    • Warm up legs with slight knee bends that will prepare the lower half of your body for strenuous activity.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine.
    • Each when paired with physical activity, may contribute to or impact long-lasting injury or health complications.
  • Avoid using a shovel that is too long, as this could make the snow pile heavier to lift, causing strain to your back.

During shoveling:

  • Take breaks when needed by walking around and standing up straight. If you have not regularly worked out recently, take several breaks.
  • Make sure to shovel smaller piles of snow at a time instead of very heavy piles
  • Bend at the hips and knees while keeping your abdominals tight when shoveling snow.
    • Lifting a heavy load with a rounded back increases stress on the spine.
  • Avoid twisting with a full shovel of snow.
    • After lifting, take 1-2 small steps to turn your body toward the snow pile.

It is important to keep hydrated with non-caffeinated beverages. Water is the best choice. To help avoid dehydration, keep a bottle of water readily available when shoveling.

After shoveling, you may experience some soreness. Stretching pre/post-shoveling will help limit the amount of soreness you will have. If your soreness lasts more than 48 hours, you may have an injury and should consult your physical therapist or other medical professional.