You can take an active role in controlling your back pain with a DIY massage, which is available to you any time for little to no cost.
Please note that this advice is a guide only and is not suitable for everyone with back pain. Please ask your GP or osteopath before you complete any of these suggestions.
Ice Massaging using Massage Balls.
You can purchase soft or firm massage balls which can be placed in the freezer for 20 minutes to enhance pain relief from self massage. The cold can help to reduce inflammation and swelling and also helps to numb the sore tissues. Take care not to freeze burn the skin though, by testing the temperature of the ball before use.
To help relieve your lower back pain, lie on the ground and slide the ball between the floor and your lower back. You can then move yourself around until you find a tender spot, and then slowly apply pressure. If you are at work, you can perform the same routine as above; but instead of lying down simply slide the ball between your lower back and chair.
Various sizes of balls can be used on different areas of the spine and shoulders to massage out tension. They can also be used on the feet and on the arms or hands.
At BOP we sell these balls for £5-£7 depending on size of the ball purchased. Speak to your therapist for advice before purchasing.
Hand Held Massagers
Whilst we would all tend to agree that there is no substitute for a professional therapist massage, there are also some fantastic products you can purchase to help in-between treatments. Some massagers will be a lot heavier and more powerful than others, but they can provide a lot of relief.
Here are a few tips to find an electric massager that is right for you:
• Hand-held massagers come in different power levels. A mini-massager might do the trick for minor aches and pains, but for serious symptoms you may need a more powerful model. Please note however with these, you may require someone else to hold the device and perform the massage.
• More expensive does not necessarily mean better. Read online reviews; and also make sure the device has a 30-day return policy.
• Ones to look at, in our opinion, include the ‘Thumper’ Range- Canadian made massage tools. These are well built and robust massagers, but note the weight of the various models before purchasing. Also homedics provide cheaper models. Check prices and compare online.
These are great for helping to alleviate tension and are cheap to buy. They also come in varying firmness and some are smooth and some more nobbly for more precision work.
A simple routine you can perform with a foam roller at your home or office:
• Begin by lying on the foam roller so it is roughly in the middle of your back. Your feet need to be flat on the ground and your knees bent. Place a pillow under your neck if needed to support it.
• Place your hands behind your head, and slowly roll your body over the foam roller so it moves toward your head.
• Stop when you reach an area with a tight muscle, and slowly move back and forth over it.
• You can target a specific area for 30 to 60 seconds, and then move on to the next problem spot.