As human beings, we overwork and store stress in certain parts of our bodies, especially the neck, shoulders, lower back, and ankles, depending on our lifestyle, work, and posture.
You look down at your phone while typing, you bend your head while working on your laptop, you train too hard, and you build up all that stress, create so many knots in your neck and shoulders, and most of the time, it’s a real struggle to work out these knots and ease the stiffness. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford deep tissue massage sessions.
Enter massage balls to save all of humanity.
There are yoga exercises designed for neck relief; however, combining self-massage using something that will reach more tricky places with Yoga will get you the relief you are looking for quicker.
Massage balls are the small, affordable, and reliable tension and knots release mechanism you did not know you needed.
Although they do not give the exact effect a trained massage therapist would provide, they come close enough to get the job done if you are on a budget. A neck massage ball is small and flexible enough to get all those hard-to-reach trigger points and work the knots out of them. It relieves tension from trigger points, reduces soreness, and offers temporary relief for the pain.
About Massage Balls And The Neck
Generally, neck massages are best done after a workout to help muscle performance, relieve soreness after a workout, etc. However, you have to be very careful when massaging your neck. The neck has so many nerves; it’s very sensitive and fragile, even more so when hurt or stiff.
The beauty of massage balls is that they can be used anywhere and are small enough to be carried around. You can use them at home, at work, or at the gym.
Furthermore, they can be used against a wall, the back of a chair, or on the floor. See how versatile this little ball of goodness is? If you already know the cause of your stiff neck or neck pain, a massage ball can only always be used as a temporary fix. You will need to take more long-term actions to mitigate the problem or completely fix it.
Types of neck massage ball
There are different kinds of massage balls. When you need them specifically for the neck, you are required to go for small balls.
Your neck massage ball could be smooth or spikey, round, hard, or soft. It all depends on your needs and expertise in using neck massage balls. Generally, neck massage balls can be divided into two types
1. Sports balls
This category has tennis balls, which are excellent for beginners, they are soft and give under pressure, this way, you can ease yourself into using massage balls.
It also has lacrosse balls, which are hard and dense. They are excellent for bodybuilders or people who do hardcore exercises. Then there are golf balls. Golf balls give intense pressure, and remember how delicate the neck is, so you need to be careful and gentle in your use of golf balls.
They are all small, portable balls.
2. Therapy balls
This category has balls specially designed for myofascial massages. There are layered balls, usually made of foam; textured balls, otherwise known as spiky balls, these spikes and nubs act like fingers digging into your neck to apply pressure on the necessary trigger points.
Additionally, there are electric massage balls to add some vibration to your therapy, and then there are twin massage balls. These balls are usually attached. They are very great for simultaneously massaging two body parts; they offer good stability.
However, you might struggle with being able to reach specific knots on your neck.
Deciding on the right neck massage ball
There are a few factors you should consider before picking out a massage ball for yourself:
Usually, heavy balls are sturdy enough to withstand pressure and stay where you place them. On the other hand, a lighter-weight ball is better for traveling.
Some balls are smooth and round and are excellent for locating tension and controlling the pressure on the neck. Then, there are the spiky balls – trust me, they feel better than they look. They are best for concentrating pressure on the trigger points. However, your neck isn’t a padded body part, so you have to be cautious about how much pressure you put on it.
- Massage at home: If you suffer from muscle soreness and stiffness after workouts, this massage ball set is the perfect solution for you.
- Myofascial release: This 6 piece trigger point massage ball set has everything you need to conduct massage ball therapy from home.
- Easy to use: This easy-to-use set is great for use in different areas of the body.
- Portable: The handy carry bag allows you to take your lacrosse and peanut massage balls with you wherever you go.
- Hygienic: This set is easy to keep clean, simply wipe with a mild disinfectant spray or soapy water in between uses.
How to use a massage ball
It’s essential to start by rolling the ball around the most painful areas of your neck first, locating the knots, gently applying pressure on it, and relaxing your muscles. Using too much pressure will make it difficult to relax and might even irritate the area even more.
Instead, gently roll the ball around your tender spots until you feel the soreness subside, and then follow it up with gentle stretching of the same muscles.
You might want to pay special attention to the areas where the neck joins the shoulders and the top of the neck closest to the head.
1. Hand to Neck
This is the easiest and safest way to work out those kinks from your neck. Sit up straight, firmly hold the ball in your opposite hand and roll it up and down the side of your neck and the slope of your neck towards your shoulder (trapezius muscle).
Alternate between gentle pressure and firm digging. When you find a tender spot, gently dig into it, apply some pressure for about two minutes; the more relief you feel, the less pressure you will apply. Next, search for more trigger points, repeat the motions, and try it on the other side of your neck.
2. Neck to Wall
This technique might be a little tricky because you will be controlling the movement of your ball using your body; hence, it might fly away a couple of times.
However, it’s excellent for working the back of your neck, and you can easily apply more pressure on trigger points. If the ball is constantly slipping away, consider rolling it from side to side.
Roll it up and down if you have better control of the ball. To do this, wedge the ball between your neck and a wall and roll those knots out.
3. Neck to Floor
This technique is very similar to the neck to wall, it offers intense pressure, and you would usually need two balls to do this technique. It’s better used by experienced people who know how to get the most out of their massage balls.
It is also great for massaging the back of the neck; however, getting the sides of the neck may not be possible. To do this, lay on the floor (preferably with your knees bent in order to control the ball better), place the balls on either side of the spine – between your trapezius muscle and the floor.
Take deep breaths to apply more pressure to a trigger point, shift your weight onto one side of your body and hold.
Before you start using massage balls on your neck, there are a few things to note, for example, where you should not use a massage ball.
- Do not roll high along the sides of your neck: This is means if you have issues or soreness around your jaw area, rolling along that side of your neck is more likely to cause you problems than relief. For example, you could compress your jugular. Also, if you feel any dizziness or tingling while massaging an area, you must stop immediately.
- Do not roll down the front of your neck/throat: As I said earlier, the neck is not cushioned, it’s one of the reasons it’s such a delicate area, so there isn’t enough protection from the ball for your trachea, eosophagus and other such sensitive areas.
- Do not roll down your spine: The spine is a very delicate area; it’s most likely not causing you strained muscles. However, moving a hard ball on it might cause problems.
A sore neck can be stressful to your quality of life; that is why we would recommend that you use massage balls regularly.
However, you need to be mindful of your habits so that you don’t exacerbate the problem. For instance, fix your posture and reduce the stress you put on your neck and shoulders during workout sessions.
Also, if your pain is acute or consistent even after using massage balls, you should see a doctor or a professional massage therapist.
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