By: Dr. Daniel Klerer, D.C.
Whether you are a professional athlete, an exercise enthusiast, an irregular exerciser or spend most of your day and night sitting at a desk, management and preventative tools are important for you.
It is important to remember that these tools are not for new injuries that have not been assessed by a professional or to correct dysfunction.
These tools are best utilized for preventative measures and as ways to manage an acute or chronic condition that has been assessed, diagnosed and treated by a professional.
The following tools are great to use before or after a workout, after a long day at work, or even in the morning to get the day started:
– Typically, this is utilized to keep the lower body muscles loose. Tight muscles can lead to poor muscle firing or even compensation at another body part. This should be used for your glutes, hip flexors, IT band, groin, quads, hamstrings and calves. Only roll one area at a time, have the non-affected leg and one or both arms on the floor as anchors. Slowly roll back and forth over the desired area.
-This is a great tool to incorporate movement while getting our muscles loose. Simple stretches like knee to chest, figure 4 or hamstring stretches are great ways to start a stretching routine. As an example, check out this link to see how to do a proper figure 4 stretch.
Heat and Ice
– Heat is a great tool to use twice a day or after a workout. As well, ice is great to use post workout if there is soreness. For more, in depth, information about heat and ice and when to use it click here.
– A trigger ball is similar to a foam roller in accomplishing optimal muscle length but it will be more specific and get into smaller spaces. This is recommended for lower back, upper back, neck, shoulder and can even be used for more specific work in the glutes, hip flexors and other lower body muscles. I prefer to go against the wall, find the spot I want to roll over and move up and down or do circles around the area with the ball. It can also be used on the floor or in a seated position depending on the area of the body being rolled.
– Lying for 10-20 minutes on the chi mat after a long day at the office, a tough workout or game helps to increase blood flow and relax tight muscles. This is great for the lower back, upper back, neck, and even bottom of the feet! When first using the Chi Mat, make sure to have a thin shirt on in addition to having a pillow behind your head and your feet on the floor with your knees bent. Eventually, you can advance to direct skin contact on the Chi Mat.