Five feelgood moves for back pain
A year on from the 50 Shades hype and for most of us, the only kinky thing we've got going is our muscles. But, just like an annoying colleague, it's easy to ignore twinges when they aren't right up in your face. Don't. Those tension knots are a result of calcium and other minerals collecting in your muscles and radiating pain.
You can release the snarl by putting pressure on its trigger point, says Amber Davies, coauthor of The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Try these manoeuvres to take you from ouch to ahhh.
Sit in a chair and rest your forearm on your thigh. With a loose fist, place your knuckles at the top of your forearm, just below the elbow crease, and rub with short strokes. Kneading with your knuckles allows you to penetrate deeply without tiring your fingers.
Place your fingers on the muscle between your neck and shoulders (your trapezius) and knead up and down with short firm strokes so you work across the muscle fibres.
Base of skull
Place your fingertips on the base of your skull, where your neck muscles attach. Use the heel of your other hand to support your fingers and exert pressure. Relax your neck and let your head rest in your hands as you rub in small strokes across the muscle fibres.
Sit on the floor or in a chair and cross your legs so your right calf rests on your left knee. Slowly move your calf back and forth across your knee without sliding the skin, using the knee to work deep into the muscle.
Lower back pain
Locate the outer knobs of your sacrum (the bottom of your spine). Slowly rub the spot with a tennis ball against a wall a couple of times a day until the knot has gone.
Five feelgood tools for back pain
Kneading sore spots can exhaust your fingers and hands. That's why massage therapist Carrie Anderson recommends using tools to take out the hard work.
Theracane Trigger Point Self Massager, $69.95 Yeah, it looks weird but according to Felicity Wood, director of Bad Backs, it's a bestseller. Why? It can reach that tough spot between your shoulderblades. Your bloke is now (almost) obsolete.
Created by Aussie Olympic team physiotherapist Mark Alexander, these balls are designed to reverse joint stiffness and correct your posture. Lying on the bed or floor, position them between your shoulderblades and roll down your spine. Ahh.
Bad Backs Massage Roller, $24.95
This deep-tissue massager couldn't be easier to use: apply pressure and roll. You can even use it in the bath... nice.
Original Jacknobber II Massager, $16.95
Designed to mimic your knuckle or thumb, use this four-legged massager to apply intense (smaller knobs) or gentle pressure (larger knobs) on your trigger points.
oot Rubz massage ball, $19.95
Based on traditional acupressure techniques, this 160-knob ball is a great antidote to a day in heels. Just place under your foot and roll for five minutes.