The body is a three dimensional web of organs held together by the fascia. Injury, illness, arthritis, poor alignment, the reasons to seek relief are numerous. While myofascial release techniques are best implemented by a practitioner, some home exercises can also be effective. Here are a few myofascial release techniques that be done alone using a specific sport medicine foam roll and the weight of your body.
General Guidelines-Use a foam roller or ball designed for the release techniques. A tennis ball can or other items can work, but keep in mind that the firmer the object, the more pressure and more pain that will occur. For each exercise roll the tool back and forth over the area for on the two minutes. When trigger points are found, hold on each for thirty to forty five seconds until the pain has lessened by about seventy-five percent. Practice these exercises once or twice daily and focus on steady breathing throughout.
Plantar Fascia-The band of connective tissue that connects the toes to the Achilles tendon is the plantar fascia. Using a ball and your body weight, place your shoeless foot on top of the ball and roll the back and forth along the length of the plantar fascia. Balance yourself with a hand against a wall if necessary.
Wrist extensions-The wrist extensor muscles run from the radius, ulna and humerus to the back of the hand and fingers. Sit on a bench and press the ball against the top of the forearm. Using and open palm, roll it back and forth in small sections. For additional pressure, flex the hand so that the wrist extensors are stretched.
Rhomboids-The rhomboids run from cervical and thoracic spine to the medial border of the scapulae. Lie on the ground with the roller lengthwise under the spine and arms crossed to clear the scapulae. Roll over the area between the outside of the spine and the scapula/shoulder blade. Repeat to cover each side.
Posterior Shoulder Capsule-This closes in the back part of the shoulder joint and stabilizes the shoulder joint. Hold the ball against a wall the middle of the capsule area. This should be just below shoulder height. Roll the ball back and forth in small sections. To increase pressure, extend the associated arm and stretch it across the front of the body.
Wrist Flexors-The wrist flexor muscles enter the palm of the hand and underside of the fingers locations on the ulna, radius and humerus. Sitting on a bench with the tennis ball in one hand, press it against the opposite forearm and roll it back and forth in small sections. For additional pressure, extend the hand to stretch the wrist flexors.
Infraspinatus and Teres Minor-This runs from the scapula to the humerus. Lying on floor with upper arm flat and lower arm at ninety degrees to it, pin the ball between your shoulder blade and the floor. Move your lower arm back and forth while keeping the elbow in place. This will internally and externally rotate the shoulder.
When choosing a roller, keep in mind that an excess of pressure can lead to fatigue of the nearby supporting musculature. Before beginning these techniques, be sure to consult a physician about pre-existing medical conditions such as pregnancy, illness or recent injury or surgery. If sharp pain or severe bruising occur, discontinue exercises.