Self-massage is crucial for amateur athletes since it’s cheap and simple to do – and massage balls are an exceptional alternative for that.
Those who play sports know pretty well what it is like to suffer from muscle soreness after training and especially after days of competition. The pain can take weeks to heal and end up holding back an athlete’s comeback, preventing them from training and raising their performances.
The best solution – in terms of efficiency – to treat muscle soreness is to look for a massage therapist right away. But, honestly, this may not be the most affordable solution, especially for those who can’t count on physical trainers and an entire health department to provide them with the necessary backup.
Then, here are some of the reasons massage balls are some of the best self-massage tools available.
How do massage balls work?
When we get our muscles injured by putting excessive strain on them, they usually get sore, but not just at the specific point we hurt: commonly, the pain and swelling affect an entire region, whether the leg, neck, abdomen, or any other part.
One of the most common ways to treat injuries is by a foam roller treatment, which can reach an entire region, like the upper back or neck, and then treat the lesions at once.
However, in many cases, the pain originates from a specific point of an injure and spreads to the parts surrounding it; so a treatment that can heal up to particular spots is necessary. That’s where massage balls make their entrance.
Massage balls can treat specific spots on the body, targeting pressure points, especially those in the feet, forearms, shoulders, neck, and back. Just keep in mind that, in order to treat an injury, it is more efficient to massage a peripheral region to the injured point than go straight to the point. Otherwise, you might end up hurting it more than helping your body heal.
Massage balls work to reduce tightness in the muscles and loosen the fascia (connective tissues that thicken up when you lack exercise or practice repetitive movements too often) that surrounds your organs.
Furthermore, foam rollers are spacious and require you to take the time to practice self-care in a dedicated space. With massage balls, on the other hand, as long as you can keep your body at rest and get yourself focused on controlling the ball management, you can be working on healing your injuries practically from anywhere.
What are the benefits of massage balls?
In addition to being practical and more affordable than other options, there are other advantages and utilities that you can use a massage ball for.
Improved Muscle Function
You can increase your range of motion with massage balls. They work to alleviate tightness in the muscles, the fascia, and tendons and, therefore, they support your body to be more flexible and reach a longer range.
When your body gets less tense, you can perform better in physically demanding activities and even exceed your limits.
Stress symptoms can lead you to an infinite chain since they end up stressing the body even more.
If you feel tight in the neck, back and shoulders too often, perhaps it means you’ve been taking a too stressful lifestyle, and it’s time to take it easier.
For that, you should practice self-care more often (practice a sport, stretch your muscle and take care of your health). In fact, massage balls can help you with that.
Use them to treat muscles pain and get relaxed at the same time. Your stress absorption will considerably reduce, and you’ll feel like you have more time for yourself – time you’re going to be spending on taking care of your health.
Massaging improves blood flow, and doing it efficiently will result in a faster healing capability.
Wounds and sores will take shorter to disappear, and you’ll be back in action quicker than anyone else, able to restart your training routine sooner.
How to use massage balls?
A massage ball treatment is possible from head to toes; that is true.
Yet, massage balls are only recommended in cases that the athlete has got injured due to sportive practices, but not seriously, or have sores caused by the daily routine, where the pain is relatively controlled.
Especially in more sensitive regions, such as the sciatic nerve, the care a therapy requires to be taken is of a higher degree of specialization.
Still, you can use the massage balls to treat less severely affected regions that would normally need just a few anti-inflammatories, some Salonpas, and much time to heal. For more acute pain and more sensitive areas, remember to look for specialized help.
At any signs of increased pain, discontinue the usage of a massage ball, see a specialist, and remember to mention your self-massage attempt. So, you can find out if you should drop it out permanently, or if it was just the way you conduced the massage that was doing more harm than good.
You can also watch this video to learn some practical tips on how to use massage balls.
How to choose a massage ball?
Positioning and controlling the movement; these are the most relevant features of a massage ball. Shape and weight are secondary, and they’are only worth getting concerned about when you have gotten accostumed to using a basic massage ball on your own.
Softness and size are very important features as they define how the contact between the tool and the muscle will occur. As your tissues get healed, the harder the ball should be; the more severe the injure, the softer the massage ball.
As it is safer to use massage balls for simple sores, it would be wise to choose a ball that is round and offers good grip since they are simpler and more intuitive to use – which means you’ll probably control them better and be able to apply a proper amount of pressure around your injuries.
Also, try to buy more than one and vary in softness to guarantee they are going to be efficient in different stages of your treatment.