Want to know my secret to easing chronic pain?
It’s this: a simple, 4” inflatable ball.
It is the tool I recommend most often to release those tight, tense areas of the body. The real secret isn’t the ball itself, though. It’s what you DO when you’re using the ball that makes all the difference in the world.
As a holistic physical therapist, I give a small inflatable ball to every one of my patients day one when I see them. We’ve just finished with a through assessment of the strain patterns in their body and gentle hands-on Myofascial Release to address the tight, painful and tense areas. All this is accompanied by educating my new patient on what I see and feel in their body and why I’m doing what I’m doing.
While the ball is a tool to take care of yourself in between sessions and to use even after they feel better and reach their goals, it is just a tool.
I learned a long time ago that people want to know about their bodies.
Can you relate? Are you like most people who are looking for someone who will listen to you about what’s going on? Are you looking for an honest answer back?
You know your body best. If you say, “it feels like my head is in a vice grip,” then I take you at your word. I’m there to look at the clues, use my eyes and my hands and knowledge of anatomy and the mind-body connection to make a little sense of the puzzle pieces presented to me. My real job comes into play when I take the information you’re giving me- the way you say things, what you say, the clues to the underlying pain- and put it together. I’ll educate you about what’s going on and what I’m going to do with your help so you can feel better and move easier again.
Wouldn’t you want to know why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling? Wouldn’t you like someone to just sit with you face-to-face and tell you in words you can understand what the solution is to your problem? Doesn’t that thought make you just want to take a big sigh of relief?
You’re in pain. You want to feel better. Confusing you with big words and meaningless explanations like “well, you had surgery” or “you had a child, a lot of moms have that”, like that explains EVERYTHING just doesn’t cut it. You want real answers. You want validation on what you’re feeling and even a glimmer of what’s going on. You want reassurance that it can be fixed, that you’re not beyond hope.
Information is powerful.
I find that education is the piece that’s often missing in healthcare. It’s why people often consult “Dr. Google” before calling their physician. It’s why you’re reading this right now. It’s on the internet and it’s available at your fingertips. You’re hungry to learn what you can do for yourself. It’s why I developed a guide, Seven Natural Ways to Ease Chronic Pain, available for free. You’ll learn natural remedies to ease your pain. I recommend you try them before medications, injections or surgery.
So, while a small ball is a great tool, it’s really the information I share with my patient about their unique body that will help them between our private sessions of physical therapy. I don’t advocate just handing someone a ball and saying “Go at it. I’m sure you’ll feel better soon”. I wouldn’t do that because I know the ball has to come with a certain amount of information on where and how to use it along with the basic principles of Myofascial Release.
How does it work?
Well, much like I use my hands during private sessions to wait at the soft tissue barriers in the body, the ball will put just a small amount of pressure on the fascia of the body, coaxing it to change states. You know that tightness, tension, and pain you feel in your body? Well, those are the sticky areas that have developed in your fascia (think internal spider web that connects and surrounds every single structure and cell of your body) in response to injury, trauma, falls, chronic inflammation, surgery, and even emotions, thoughts, and beliefs.
I’m sure you can imagine the strain patterns that can develop in your body from sports injuries or a fall down the stairs or a slip on the ice. It’s probably also easy to understand that scar tissue develops in the body after surgery, even if it was a surgery that saved your life or relieved some pain. The fascia can clamp down in response to injuries, surgeries and accidents and create up to 2000# of pressure and pull in the body. Instead of being nice and fluid, your body can start to get stuck and eventually those soft tissue restrictions can solidify.
Thoughts & Beliefs Affect Your Cells
I bet you haven’t thought much about what your thoughts and beliefs do to your body on a cellular level.
Ever been told to
- Shut up
- Sit still
- Quit your crying
Were you led to believe you’re
- Too tall
- Not as pretty as your sister
- Clumsy or dumb
- You’re not as athletic as your brother
- So naughty that you can’t do anything right
How did you respond? How did you feel? Did you shy away, want to hide, stop speaking up, or stop trying your best? Did you make a vow to do everything right so you wouldn’t get in trouble? Did you start comparing yourself to others and find you never quite measured up?
Did you believe the lies you were told or that were silently implied? Did you start to believe you’re not worthy or not good enough or that you’re unlovable?
Negative messages can play day in and day out on a subconscious level. You may still be bracing against them, tightening your body and trying to hide or escape. Your muscles can still be tightening against a situation that is no longer playing itself out in reality.
That’s where a whole body approach like Myofascial Release comes in. It’s a mind-body therapy that addresses the fascial restrictions in the body. It addresses all restrictions, ones that developed from unhealthy thoughts and beliefs, but also those from inflammation, injury, trauma, falls and surgery. It includes Structural Release, Myofascial Unwinding, and Myofascial Rebounding.
A good therapist will also include education and home care as well.
That’s where the small ball comes in.
I encourage my patients to spend time every day using the small ball so they can continue to release the soft tissue restrictions we’ve discovered in private sessions. The ball compliments the manual therapy you receive at The Healing Spot. Just remember, it can’t think and respond like a real life person. It is up to you to feel into your body and allow stuck areas to respond to the pressure of the ball. Myofascial Release can help bring awareness to stuck areas and gently unravel the bracing and holding patterns from the past. This relieves tremendous pressure and strain.
The ball can be used in sitting, standing, lying face up or face down. Find a tight, tense or painful area, place the ball there and drape your body over top of it. Wait 5 minutes or longer and allow your body to soften over the ball. It takes up to 2 min for your body to respond to the pressure of the ball. Studies have shown that after 5 minutes your body starts releasing Interleukin 8, it’s own natural anti-inflammatory. So, not only are you making permanent changes in the ground substance of the fascia, allowing it to remodel and let go of past trauma, you’re helping heal your body from the inside out!
For more information on using the small ball, watch this short video:
For a comprehensive evaluation of your body and whole-body treatment, book an appointment on my website. Not quite sure if I can help you? I’d be happy to talk with you during a Free Phone Consultation or you can book a face-to-face Discovery Session (by clicking the button below) to sit down with me, a Specialist Physical Therapist, to get your questions answered first.