A beginners guide to DIY Massage for Back Pain Relief

It’s been a long day–maybe even a long week or month–and your back is killing you. There have been a million stressors and every one of them seems to have found a spot to settle in on your back, neck, and shoulders. With everything you had to do, it’s a miracle you’re still standing even though you’re tired, hunched, and dragging your feet. Good posture went out the window hours ago compounding the aches and pains in your poor back.

We can’t all go home to our personal masseuse but there is something we can do for ourselves. Welcome to the beginners guide to DIY back massage for pain relief!

Why Does My Back Hurt?

There are a myriad of reasons why you’re experiencing this pain. Stress is one reason but the leading reason is simply posture. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, constantly bending over for work, frequently checking your phone, working out at the gym, going on a run, or just trying to relax at the end of a long day, poor posture (in these activities and more) can and will lead to back pain. A bit of DIY massage may help to relieve your back pain.

Before You Begin Your Massage

Before you start your massage, there are a few things you can do to prepare your muscles that will make the massage more enjoyable and effective.

  1. Relax: Make sure you are relaxed. Take a shower or use a heated cloth/pad to warm and loosen your muscles, change into comfortable clothes, and go somewhere without distractions.
  2. Stretch: Gently stretch the areas that are causing you pain and discomfort. There are a variety of stretches that are excellent for targeting specific muscle groups. Whether you’re experiencing pain in your shoulders, neck, upper back, lower back, or entire back… there’s a stretch for that!
  3. Breathe: Before and during your massage, it’s important to always focus on having deep, controlled, breathing.

How to Preform a DIY Back Massage

Now that you’ve prepared yourself to receive a massage, you can begin! Below are three easy techniques to help relieve back pain using DIY massage.

Tennis Ball

A tennis ball can be used to massage your shoulders, upper back, lower back, and everywhere in-between. How to use a tennis ball for your own personal back massage is fairly simple.

  1. Lay on your back or stand against a wall (whatever will keep you most relaxed).
  2. Position the tennis ball so that it is between your back and the wall/floor on the area that is causing pain and discomfort.
  3. Gently press your body against the tennis ball, moving back and forth, up and down, and in circular motions against the ball targeting those sore muscles.
  4. For particularly isolated areas, position the ball directly on the knotted muscle and apply pressure until you can feel relief.
  5. Any given area massaged using the tennis ball should only receive about five minutes of massage.

Foam Roller

If you’re an athlete that’s experienced tight and sore muscles, chances are that you’ve used or know what a foam roller is. It’s excellent for working out tight muscles from long runs and workouts. It’s also very useful in DIY back massages!

Lay on your back on the floor with the foam roller underneath your lower back.

With your weight resting on the foam roller, gently roll your body over the roller so that it moves up and down your lower back until you feel relief.

Hands and Fingers

  1. Your own hands and fingers are best used to reach the sensitive upper back/shoulder and neck area.
  2. Using the same motions as with the tennis ball, use your fingers to apply pressure to the areas causing pain.
  3. Hold pressure on stubborn spots until you feel relief.
  4. To avoid further muscle tension use your right arm to massage the right side of your shoulders/neck and your left hand for the left.

Prevention

Remember, so many of the aches and pain we feel in our back can be prevented when we focus on and practice good posture during our daily activities!

Related: The Surprising Link Between Good Posture and Happiness

7 Effective Stretches to Relieve Tight Hamstrings and Prevent Running Injuries

Tight hamstrings can be a major contributor to several different types of pain or orthopedic injury. Running injuries, back pain, hip pain, and knee pain can all be stemmed from short and tight hamstrings. Use these 7 effective stretches to relieve tight hamstrings to not only improve running form but reduce the risk of running injury.

Need a Quick Detox? Try These Five Yoga Poses Today

Perhaps you are feeling sluggish, bloated, or like you simply have no energy to get through the day. Whatever it is that have you thinking about an all-over detox, yoga offers a natural and calming way to reboot your body. Detoxing with yoga poses offers some incredible health benefits that will revitalize both your body and mind. Specific yoga poses can remove toxins and waste from the body, improve digestion, and stimulate your circulatory and lymphatic systems. Others can balance hormones, improve sleep pattern and mental and emotional clarity, increase energy, and even aid in weight loss. Essentially, yoga poses could detox your body by releasing physical, mental, and emotional toxicity. Detox with these five yoga poses:

Lumo Lift Success Story: This Dental Hygienist uses Lumo Lift to prevent back pain

Guest post from Lumo Lift user, Christine B. 

I have been working as a Registered Dental Hygienist for eight years. One of the symptoms known to my profession is back problems. It is difficult to have patients lay in the proper position, which causes me to do a lot of hunching over and leaning. I found myself exploring options to prevent future back problems as I am still fairly young. I came across Lumo lift on one of my professional dental hygiene pages that I belong to and decided to purchase one for myself.

Four Simple Plyometric Exercises To Improve Your Running Form

Most important to a runner’s ability to perform effectively is the ability of the muscles and tendons to store energy. Improvements in the muscles’ ability to elastically store energy has incredible benefits for runners, wherein, the more energy stored, a runner would be more efficient at maintaining a set pace, but utilize less energy to get it done.

5 Easy Stretches Your Body Will Thank You for

When we were kids we knew that stretching was important because they told us so, we avoided it if it meant we skipped right to recess. Now that we’ve grown up a bit, we wouldn’t step out the door in our running shoes without first warming up and stretching. We know it’s good for us so we do it.

In this day and age where we’re frequently sitting for 12-15 hours a day, we’re not moving as much as we should or would like to. Does that mean that stretching is no longer beneficial to our bodies? Absolutely not! Even if the most you can manage some days is the walk to and from your car (all while deliberately avoiding eye contact with your running shoes), stretching will help maintain your flexibility and mobility, strengthen your muscles, and can even provide neck and back pain relief that are symptoms of our common daily activities.

How to Ease Chronic Pain with Good Posture

After a few hours of sitting at your desk or driving home from work, you may start to notice yourself slouching in your seat.  Maybe you need to pick up something off the floor and your initial reaction will be to bend down at your waist thinking it is no big deal.  Then you are standing in line at the grocery store with the shopping basket dropping your arm down after you picked up more supplies than you had originally anticipated.  Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?  All of these everyday scenarios have a negative impact on your muscles and joints.  After a while, you may start to feel soreness in your lower back.   If you find you can relate, it is likely that you have bad posture.

5 Really Great Reasons Why Good Posture Is Super Important

This article was originally featured on Huffington Post by Ann Brenoff. Read the original here

So it turns out, your mother was right after all: Good posture really matters ― even in your older years.

Slouching impacts you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined, says Dr. Charles Wang, the COO and co-founder of Lumo Bodytech, a company that has brought tech to the quest for good posture. The Lumo Lift gives you a vibrating reminder when you start to slouch. Kind of like Mom, but in the form of a wearable device.

Wang helped us compile this list of five reasons why good posture matters.

The Surprising Link between Good Posture and Happiness

It is truly incredible how the human body works sometimes. For example, take a look at our posture.  Something as small and simple as straightening your back while sitting and walking can have such a profound impact on your mental health, not to mention contributes to alleviating pesky back pain. According to research conducted by Professor Erik Peper of San Francisco State University, altering our body position to being more upright can improve our energy levels and mood. “When sitting upright and looking upward,” Peper wrote, “it was difficult and for many almost impossible to recall hopeless, helpless, powerless, and negative memories and easier to recall empowering positive memories.” The next time you are feeling blue and are having “one of those days”, try straightening your posture. Granted, this is not a substitute for professional help but can supplement treatment.

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