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6 Tactics to Reduce Muscle Tension!

The following exercises and content was created exclusively for iHealthSphere, by our friends at Engage Health. Read on to discover the important tips on how to reduce myofascial pain with trigger point massage using a spiky massage ball and download our handy exercise worksheet to assist with relieving stress on your muscles.

As we have previously warned, too much sitting can be detrimental to your spine and long term health. Sedentary activities create constant stress on posture, often resulting in pain, tightness and shortened muscles. We have compiled a guide to help you wave goodbye to muscle tension with some useful trigger point therapy tips and simple exercises you can perform everyday.

But first, what exactly are 'trigger points'? Trigger points, also known as muscle 'knots', are areas of skeletal muscle that when touched or pressured, produce tenderness, twitching and jumping. Trigger points can cause a condition known as Myofascial Pain Syndrome. In many cases, the surrounding nerves will be affected and the fascia will thicken, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Myofascial trigger points can have a significant influence on the way you move. When pain is present, your body alters its motion in an effort to avoid pain and move around the restrictive areas.

Trigger points can also lead to:

  • Increased stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Local tenderness
  • Referred pain
  • Increased sensitivity of the muscle

Effective Trigger Point Therapy Tips

Self massage is one of the most effective ways of easing pain from trigger points and restoring the musculoskeletal system. This allows the muscles in the body to prepare for activity. For an effective trigger point massage, apply sufficient deep sustained pressure to the 'knotted up' area. As you work the trigger point, your body will achieve myofascial release, reducing the pain signals to the brain and resetting your neuromuscular system to restore its proper function.

One of the best ways to treat stiff or sore body parts is by using a spiky massage ball. If you've never used a spiky massage ball, don't worry, you're not alone. These massage balls look intimidating, but they significantly help to ease muscle tension and tightness, while stimulating blood flow throughout your body. If used properly, these balls can improve your mobility and range of motion.

How to Use a Spiky Massage Ball

Originally developed in Denmark, these versatile balls feature tiny bumps or spikes on the surface, which help to apply pressure to targeted muscle groups. To use the ball, all you have to do is place the ball directly on the affected area and roll it backwards and forwards while pushing against a hard surface. This may feel a bit painful due to the stiffness of the muscles, so it's best to move gently and slowly. Performing this for about 30-90 seconds should significantly help your muscles relax. Repeat if necessary.

For effective relief from trigger point pain, apply sufficient deep sustained pressure to the 'knotted-up' area. As you work the trigger point, your body will undergo a neurological release, reducing the pain signals to the brain and resetting your neuromuscular system to restore its proper function.

A Spiky massage ball can be used to treat a variety of stiff or sore body parts. Use it to relieve muscle tension and tightness, provide mobility and stimulate blood flow throughout the body.

6 Exercises to Relieve Muscle Tension

Time to put that technique we discussed up above to good use!.

We've created a handy downloadable spiky massage ball exercise sheet to help you perform these simple stretches to relieve muscle tension. Print the portable guide to share with friends, relatives or to use at home after exercise!

6 Tactics To Reduce Muscle Tension Download Sheet

Additional Tools to Help Relieve Myofascial Pain

Now that you have your exercise sheet, incorporate these with some of our other exercise and rehab products, to help limit muscle tension and myofascial pain. They are easy to store at home or take with you to the gym. These include:
For more information about foam rollers, view the Complete Guide To Foam Rolling, which contains a downloadable worksheet outlining a series of exercises to ensure you experience the full benefits of your foam roller.

About Engage Health
Engage Health is a leading provider of occupational health and injury prevention programs. They specialise in reducing the incidence and severity of soft tissue and mental health injuries through functional and sustainable injury prevention programs.Their Mindfulness-based programs effectively reduce stress within the corporate environment and improve performance within the sporting and athletic arena. Sally Cumming is the director of Engage Health. She is an ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Mindfulness Educator with a passion for creating healthier, safer and more productive workplaces.
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