Have you ever woken up with stiff joints or mysterious aches and pains that weren’t there when you went to bed? It could be the way you sleep, or that you strained a muscle and didn’t pay it much notice. This can happen to anyone at any time, from over extending to get something off a top shelf to bending down to pick things up from the ground.It’s frustrating when injury prevents you from participating in your favourite type of physical activity, but don’t let it get you down! An excellent way to help avoid some of these injuries is by improving your range of motion (flexibility) with self-massage. Keep in mind that the following information should not replace your doctor’s recommendations, here are things you can do at home to improve range of motion.
Follow these guidelines when self-massaging:
- Start gradually; work an area for a few minutes and slowly add time.
- Avoid massaging bony and tendon/ligament areas and instead target muscles.
- Pain should not extend beyond mild discomfort; you are not trying to hurt yourself.
You can also use a tennis ball or foam roller to self-massage as explained below:
- Massage your back by putting the ball against a wall, leaning into it, and moving up and down. Avoid your spine.
- Sitting, gently roll your gluteal (bum) muscles side to side on the ball.
- While on the ground, move your calf up and down the ball.
- Run the sole of your foot over the ball when sitting at your desk.
- Lying down, massage your thigh by gently rolling the foam roller between your knee and hip
- This might be quite tender at first, so control the amount of pressure you apply by holding most of your body weight with your hands. Gradually increase the pressure by augmenting the amount of body weight on the roller.
- PAL pro-tip: Make your own foam roller with a piece of PVC pipe wrapped with an old foam camping or yoga mat.