We’ve highlighted several great tools to use within your exercise routine such as the foam roller, Theraband Flexbar, and Theraband. Today’s post will highlight other great tools that can be used like a simple tennis ball and the TheraCane that can both aid in self-massage techniques for myofascial and trigger point release. In our PTtip video, Dr. Alex Tan, PT, DPT, demonstrates how to use both a tennis ball and the TheraCane when targeting trigger points within the mid to upper back:

How to Release Trigger Points PTtip Video

Using a Tennis Ball for Trigger Point Release:

  • Stand with your back facing the wall and place the tennis ball between yourself and the wall and roll around until you find a spot on your back that has been giving you irritation.
  • Once you’ve found the sore spot, lean back into the ball to apply pressure.
  • It may take anywhere from 90-120 seconds to get the sore spots to release.
  • You may feel pain from the area that you’re applying the pressure to.
  • If the pain does not ease and feels as if it is increasing, it is recommended to stop applying the pressure.

Using a TheraCane for Trigger Point Release:

  • If you feel as if the tennis ball does not provide enough pressure, a TheraCane can be used.
  • As demonstrated in the video, hook the TheraCane around to reach your mid to upper back to apply pressure to the spots that are causing you irritation.
  • Again, apply pressure to the tender points for about 90-120 seconds.

Adding Motion:

  • Another way for treating the tender spots in your mid to upper back, such as when using the tennis ball option, is to add a little motion to the pressure.
  • Again, pin the ball between the tender spot on your back and the wall, then bring your arm out and slowly move your arm out to your side and back in front to help the spot to release.
  • You can also change the direction of the motion too by bringing your arm upward and slowly back down in front, as demonstrated in the video.

Health Tip

It’s that time of year when the summer is winding down, a new season is quickly approaching, and the new school year is about to begin! Despite the busyness, it’s important to still keep in mind maintaining a well-balanced healthy diet for you and your family. Of course, part of a well-balanced diet includes eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. To ensure that your kids are eating their recommended amount of fruits and veggies daily, here are a few simple ideas to consider when making snacks and lunches:

Take advantage of the plethora of in-season fruits and veggies to help find new fresh produce options that you and your family can enjoy. A few in-season veggie options include bell peppers, cucumbers, and sugar snap peas and instead of eating them simply on their own, add a homemade veggie dip made with plain Greek yogurt and your favorite spices to add extra calcium and protein to the snack.

Try These Healthy Ideas!

For a homemade fruit dip, use Greek yogurt, cinnamon, a dash of vanilla extract, and honey. This can make for a tasty addition to plain fruit like in-season apples, raspberries, and plums. Lastly, another option to consider is swapping in banana, strawberry, or apple slices for jelly in your PB&J.

The winter season will be upon us before we know it, so now is a great time to try the wide variety of fresh produce available to experiment and determine which fruits and veggies you like best. The variety will not only enhance the flavor of your meals, but the nutrient content as well!

Make sure you watch the PTtip video to learn how to properly perform the above exercises, and if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists, give us a call today at 1-855-PT-FIRST!


*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your own health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.