Lately, I’ve been carrying around a tennis ball in my gym bag. But it’s not because I’ve taken up a new sport (I know from gym classes that tennis is not for me!). I’ve been using it a trigger point ball to take care of some especially tight spots. There are trigger point balls sold specifically for this reason but I’ve found a tennis ball works just as well (and it’s free, Vinnie just has one less bell to play fetch with).
How does using a trigger point ball work?
1. Find a trigger point (a specific tender point in the muscle) by positioning the tight muscle over the ball either by lying on the ground, sitting or leaning against a wall. When you find the point, you may feel instant discomfort and/or radiating pain, which might be frightening but lets you know you’ve found the spot.
2. Hold for 1-2 minutes. You may feel a muscle twitch response, wait for the tissue to release (you can feel it soften under your skin or you’ll begin to feel a decrease in the pain referral pattern).
3. Once the muscle releases, either go deeper into the tissue or move the trigger ball to the adjacent points until muscle pain and tightness has reduced.
Using a trigger point ball really helps me get out especially tight spots in my shoulders and glutes, especially while I’m work. But I’m trying to incorporate it into my daily mobility work, especially as increasing my cross training days means I’m working my upper body muscles more.