Recent studies suggest that sitting for lengthy periods of time puts us at risk for a number of health issues. Unfortunately, being sedentary for a good portion of the day is a consequence of modern life that must be dealt with and accepted. Whether it’s time spent seated at a desk working or studying, hunched over a computer or cramped in a car, on a train, or in an airplane during a commute, it all adds up and takes its toll.
As a result, one consequence that many of us currently experience is tense, tight and shortened muscles.
Areas of the body that are particularly vulnerable include the neck, shoulders, lower back and hamstrings.
Fortunately, stretching on a consistent basis is a highly effective way to counteract this condition. In addition, practicing the progression of yogic asanas is excellent for helping muscles maintain their suppleness, litheness and functionality. And as many of us can attest to, when the session is over we leave feeling relaxed, revitalized and refreshed.
However, sometimes muscle pain is more stubborn or chronic and can contribute to a host of other maladies.
Trigger points, also known as trigger sites are tiny knots that develop in muscles due to an injury or from being overworked. They are tender to touch and feel like tiny peas or undercooked spaghetti. Usually found in clusters, pressure on these points can elicit local discomfort, send a twinge to other parts of the body or cause a twitch response. They are known to contribute toward the development of headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Massage is a wonderful way to work out the knots that cause muscle pain and soreness. However, regular sessions tend to be costly and an expense that many of us cannot afford over the long-term. Fortunately, there is a way to achieve similar benefits at home by performing a self-massage using a foam roller. Relatively inexpensive and easily obtainable at local sporting goods and department stores, foam rollers are a good investment. They are very easy to use. Simply roll on the roller until you find a trigger point. You will know you found one when it hurts. When you find this point, stop and rest on the roller until the pain subsides or for as long as you can maintain the position. Contrary to popular belief, it’s the constant pressure and not the rolling that will relieve the muscle knot. When the pain subsides continue rolling until another painful spot is found. Repeat the process. After the session, be sure to drink plenty of water.
There are many excellent videos on the internet offering demonstrations on how to effectively use the roller for different areas of the body.