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For all you Scarface movie lovers, I thought you’d get a kick out of the title, but on a serious note, this is all about pain – Pain in your hips, glutes, upper back… whatever and wherever it is.

Have you ever needed to get that kink out of your upper back? How about release in a tight hip? or just some TLC (tender loving care) after a long day?

In my previous job, sitting was a big part of my day and after a few years, my body started to get a bit more stiff than usual – upper back and hips. Sitting as well as lack of exercise was surely the main culprit, and at this point, I just wanted to feel better.

I went to see a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, an osteopath, a registered massage therapist, and they all offered relief, but the pain kept coming back.

Here’s where the magic started…

A friend of mine said his mom swears by using a lacrosse ball as a self-massage for her aches and pains. (Here I was thinking lacrosse was not my thing hehe.) I wanted to get deep down to what was causing the pain.

Then I went for an osteopathic massage – life-changing. We went deeper into discussion around muscles and what was happening and my curiosity was peaked! My pain point was in my hips, but actually, what was happening was in my lower back, because my upper back and chest were forward for most of the day due to sitting, so my body was compensating. There is a far more technical explanation, but I’ll leave that for another day. 

Compensation, now that’s an interesting concept, and I’m not talking money terms. You see, pain is a signal to your body that something is wrong, and your body will respond accordingly, because it’s amazing! The downside, is that this means you could be compensating elsewhere. Take a sore knee for example. Your knee pain could be a result of a hip injury – It’s all connected!

So where does the ball come in? 

The short answer: Self Myofascial release. Say again? It sounds a lot more complicated, so I’m going to try to break it down for you in simple terms. I will preface by saying that there is a ton more of information out there, and I am not a doctor or a registered massage therapist – this is just what I’ve found and what has worked for me.

First things first: You know your body is an amazing thing, right? That it really is all connected (think back to the elementary song: The Skeleton Dance)

It’s the one thing that is common among all of us, anatomically speaking. To put it simply, everyone is made up of bones, muscle, organs, cells, etc., and what holds us together is connective tissue. More specifically, Fascia.

Hmmm Fascia… what the hey is that?

Well, if you know it or not, it’s everywhere in your body. You have your bones that make up your skeleton, your frame. These bones are connected to one another by ligaments. Then you have your muscles, which are connected to your bones by tendons.

You have joints in between bones that are made up of cartilage. You also have fascia, a connective tissue that basically keeps us all together, surrounding our bones, muscles, organs, nerves, blood vessels, right down to our cells.

Fascia is super flexible and adaptable, but if it gets stiff, it can cause a ripple effect to your body. There are people that have knee pain from a lower back injury or a headache when you have tension in your upper back. It’s tough because you can’t really see fascia, and often times we tend to it when it’s too late – myself included 😉

If you want to read more in detail, check out the Encyclopedia Britannica

Try this out (as long as you’re able):

  1. From a standing position, bend forward slowly and safely, until you can no longer. If your hands touch the floor, great, if not, that’s great too. Make a note of how far you were able to reach/get to.
  2. Take your Ball and roll it under each foot for about 3-5 minutes
  3. Repeat step 1 – were you able to reach farther?

I really just touched the surface here, so again, the above is based on my own findings, but I did learn the ball trick with the foot at my Yoga Instructor’s course and thought it was too cool to share.

Where to buy?

If you’re looking for a

, check out your local sports shop or Amazon. You can also buy something similar at the toy shop, I like to call it the bouncy ball (pink ball in the main photo):

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Natalia Edelmann

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