We’ve all been there. You got a great workout in, things are feeling good, and then it hits you. That painful ache that only comes from a strained muscle. Maybe you’ve been overtraining or your form was that off that day. If you’ve ever felt the pain that comes from a workout, then you know that it can make it difficult to move, sleep, and go about your day.
This is where massage balls come in! These small tools are perfect for getting to specific areas of your body to relieve pain. Massage balls work because they help release the fascia that becomes tight and knotted up during workouts. Fascia is a very thin sheath of connective tissues and it covers all of your organs and muscles. It connects your muscles together and when it is damaged it causes pain by pulling your body out of alignment or putting pressure on your muscles and joints. By loosening up the fascia, you are able to help your muscles work better and move freely.
There are different massage balls available but we’re going to focus on the three most popular: the lacrosse ball, spiky massage ball, and the peanut ball.
The lacrosse ball is a sturdy ball that does not become softer when pressure is applied. This makes it perfect to provide myofascial release because it can provide constant pressure on the fascia. You can use a lacrosse ball after a workout to help decrease both fatigue and soreness after a workout. It’s best to use it right after a workout, but you can also keep the ball with you and use it throughout the day. When you use a lacrosse ball, begin with light pressure. It can be painful! If you press down too hard on the ball, you may experience too much pain. Lacrosse balls are great for relieving pain in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, feet, and calves.
Spiky massage balls are shaped like a lacrosse ball but they have bumps or small spikes that stick out of the ball. These spikes are also made of rubber and can help you find specific trigger points in your body. A trigger point is where the fascia is especially tight and adheres to your muscles. When you are using a massage ball, those are the places that make you stop and say, “Ouch!” A spiky ball can help pinpoint those areas while the spikes provide similar relief to acupuncture.
Peanut massage balls are basically two lacrosse balls that are connected by a thin piece of rubber. These massage balls are ideal for working out the tension in your back or neck. They are designed to work on both sides of your back without injuring your spine. They are also great to use to ease the tension of headaches. Peanut massage balls are also a helpful tool for laboring mothers! If you’re an expecting mother who wants to use natural resources to help you deal with the pain of contractions, then consider using a peanut ball.
Massage balls are great tools to have in your arsenal for recovery. Anytime you feel any soreness coming on, they can help relieve pain and get you back in the gym more quickly. For best results, use them after every workout so you’ll always feel your best.