3 Household items you can use to relieve muscle pain – from a physical therapist - Be My Healer
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By Sophie Xie / March 18, 2016

3 Household items you can use to relieve muscle pain

3 Household items you can use to relieve muscle pain

My friend Dr. Lilly has a sleek set of metal tools that she uses on her patients at her clinic. The material is said to emit a vibration that synchronize with our body’s energy. Or something along that line.

I personally love to use my Gua Sha tool made from volcanic stone, cold and smooth. I bought it from China and had it shipped here.

However, we both agree that household items work just fine when it comes to treating muscle pain.

In this post, I wish touch on some really interesting tricks we physical therapist refer to as “soft tissue work” in the hope to inspire all of you out there to spend more time and energy to do something for your physical pain.

“Soft Tissue” is exactly as it sounds, things that are soft in our body, mainly referring to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, such n such. It is very important part of recovery and treatment to take care of these structures to allow best performance of our muscle and skeletal system.

Tool Number 1: Tennis Ball

You can find tennis ball in the most interesting corner of your house. My favorite are those that are stuck on the feet of a walker left somewhere in the attic.

tennis ball massage

Image Source: Home Dzine Lifestyle

The tennis ball has the perfect amount of give and firmness to release muscle spasm and nodes. It can assess spots on our body that are not accessible by our thumbs. Even for the spot where your thumb can easily get to, you can decrease your wear and tear to your fingers by simple use the tennis ball.

Muscle nodes or spasm: Push down and hold until the tenderness goes away.

Fascia release (such as in plantar fasciitis): Roll the tennis ball up and down along the fascia.

Tool #2: Table spoon, pot scraper or butter knife

In the cold Asian way of home remedy, people used to (and many still do) treat illness and pain by scraping coins up and down the patient’s body.

This modern way of performing Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization is very much similar and high effective for past recovery. Please note, I will never claim this treatment as pain free or comfortable, for in many cases, it is not if the treatment is done by me. However, if you are doing this at home, please use good judgement, testing and proceed.

gua sha

The scraping technique, as call it most frequently, is most effectively done at home on small areas such as tennis elbow, headache, TMJ, knee pain and ankle pain.

You scrap the muscle or tendon by tilting the spoon, back side of butter knife or scraper so that its making contact with skin at 45 deg angle and push the tissue in strokes. Repeat the scraping until the localized area is pink and warm, or if you see small red dots appear in the surface of action. Avoid using ice for at least 4 hours after scrapping. And do not perform this more than once every 48-72 hours. And make sure you drink plenty of water to support the healing process.

The purpose of this treatment is to break open scar tissues and adhesions, increase local blood flow to allow injury heal faster. Some soreness and mild bruising may occur

Tool #3: Dough roller

This point, someone will think “Good God! What are you doing to your body with these things?”

I promise you, what we recommend is no worse than what your body went through when they are injured (and some injuries are sustained over course of months and years of over use).

Dough roller technique is not as drastic as the one described above. It is wonderful for decrease muscle stiffness and soreness in the bigger muscles such as in the shoulder, arm, buttocks and thighs. It is highly efficient to open up tight fascia and increase blood flow to large area of soft muscles.

dough roller muscle pain

Image source: Dawn Mucha linkedin

A general use is to use dough roller over your quad and hamstring muscles after a long run to avoid sore and stiff legs the following day.

Read following post on specific instructions to use dough roller to treat muscle stiffness properly.

I hope you find this post interesting. I certainly had fun writing it.

Lots of time, once you get familiar with techniques to help yourself, you can spot many use item collecting dust at your house. I, for one, have a budget conscious husband. That means I don’t always get to buy the junks I want during my hot head moments. I have, in the past, used my large hydro-flask bottle to crack my spine and released my IT band. I also used cloth hanger to release neck trigger point and used comb to treat headache.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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