We are all prone to back pains at some stage in our life and typically, our lifestyle is at fault.
Long office hours and physical labour can take a toll on our back over time, as does incorrect posture. However, there are also many people out there who do their best to care for their back muscles byways of regular yoga and stretching exercises, great posture and a non-sedentary lifestyle and still experience chronic back pain.
One of the most common issues for people is sciatic nerve pain – a shooting pain that starts on either side of your lower spine, shoots deep into the buttocks area and all the way down to the feet.
Sciatic nerve pain – otherwise known as sciatica – can be extremely painful and even cause tingling sensations or numbness in the thighs, calves and feet. Sciatica is extremely frustrating as it will affect your day to day life: sitting and standing still will cause worse pain than lying down or walking – neither options of which will fit into a typical working day.
Fortunately, there are a few different methods that can help to alleviate pain and the most beneficial one, will give you a chance to put your old tennis balls to good use.
Sometimes the most surprising and ordinary tools are the ones that help us through painful periods the most and when it comes to sciatica, tennis balls really have proven their worth. Find two tennis balls and place them next to one another and duct tape them into position; you will end up with something that resembles the number eight shape.
Roll out your yoga mat and position your tennis-ball tool on the floor, then lower yourself onto it keeping your knees bent. You’ll want to position the balls on the lower back, parallel to your waist. Take your time – find a position that feels balanced and comfortable. Once you’re ready, slowly raise your arms up towards the ceiling with your fingers spread and try to keep your arms straight.
Start gentle movements by bringing your arm back down toward your head, maintaining the straightness; alternate between bringing your arm to your head and to the ground behind you. Hold the position for a few seconds and go back to your starting point with your arms raised to the ceiling; repeat this exercise several times with both arms.
With your tennis balls still positioned on your yoga mat, lower your back, buttock or upper thighs onto them and start moving your hips and back in circular motions to identify any sore muscles or tender areas. Focus the pressured movement on this area gently and immediately refrain if you feel any sharp pains.
If you have a partner or a friend who’s happy to channel their inner masseuse with the use of tennis balls, flip onto your belly and ask them to massage your buttocks. With one tennis ball in each hand, ask them to use their pressure to massage up and to the sides of the hips in a slow, circular motion.
For tingling, painful feet affected by sciatica, stand in an upright position and place the tennis ball on the floor. Step onto it with the ball positioned within the arch of your foot, press down and roll it back and forth in a slow motion. This can help when tingling or prickling sensations are acute or when the feet are particularly sore. Always keep your tennis ball massage tool at close hand for immediate pain relief!
Choose your tennis balls here.