Home Massage Tools are gaining popularity in recent years for multiple reasons. Home massage tools are devices that are used to apply pressure to parts of your body that are painful or stiff. The pressure these massage tools produce, stretches muscle fibers and tight fascia which cause people discomfort and disability.
Hamstrings are not one muscle but comprise 3 separate muscles that have different functions. They respond well to home massage tools that stretch the tight fascial sheets that make them susceptible to injury and tears. Hamstring injuries can be categorized into 3 grades of severity.
Grade 1: Injuries are a strain on the tendons that attach the muscle to the pelvis. The person feels some pain on use of the muscle like climbing stairs but there is little or no loss of muscle power.
Grade 2: Is more serious in that there are torn muscle fibers with measurable loss of power and strong pain and swelling.
Grade 3: This is the most serious injury where the muscle is completely torn so that the muscle is in 2 pieces. There is loss of muscle function where contraction causes the muscle belly to bunch up. Sudden and severe pain during exercise, along with a snapping or popping feeling is common.
There is a new type of home massage tool that is designed by a Physical Therapist that allows the user to put their whole-body weight through a small 25 mm diameter surface that concentrates that force to stretch the tight fascia that causes all the problems.
Massage tools have many benefits but specifically for hamstring strains it can help with pain relief, loosen scar tissue and tight muscles, stimulate blood flow and therefore healing and aid in the stretching of the muscles and their fascia.
Types of Massage Tools you can use at home
- Fascia stretching tool
- Spiky Ball
- Foam roller
- Massage Stick or cane
- Massage Gun
- Massage Ball
Reasons for using a Home Massage Tool
- People use massage tools to get the following benefits:
- Pain Relief
- Back and Neck pain
- Speeds up recovery and decreases DOMS Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
- Increases blood flow
- Clears lactic acid
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Releases Trigger Points / Knots
- Increase Range of Movement
- Improves performance and endurance
- To help themselves and be self sufficient
- Save Money on treatments
How to use it with acute pain and injuries
If you have a recent injury or an old injury that has increased in pain, then it is best to ice the area to reduce the inflammation. Do not put the massage tool directly on the most painful spot straight away as that will increase your pain. Use the massage tool on a spot nearby that does not stir up your pain, this will still put a stretch on the sore spot and loosen up the tight tissues that caused the sore spot. A sore spot is caused by muscles that are tight and stuck together and the sore spot is the weakest part of that muscle. Fascia Stretching Tools stretches very strong stubborn fascia, but it is not a 5-minute job. To get lasting pain relief you need to build up to 30 mins in one spot, multiple times per week, that way you feel the tool slowly melting through one tuff layer after another. Only move the tool to another spot when you feel it has done its job? Sideways Stretching works best to break up dysfunctional fascia.
Deep Tissue Self Massage Tools and Fascia Facts
Steel can be stretched so can tough fascia! Fascia is so strong it can withstand up to 2 tons of pressure per square inch, releasing it requires strong constant pressure that Fascia Stretching tools generate.
We have ten times more pain and movement sensors in fascia than we do in muscle? Releasing this fascia helps pain and movement
Releasing Fascia can take months to show lasting change. Only 30 min sessions with the tool over time will make you successful.
These massage tools work on a concept called creep where constant strong pressure elongates the tight fascial fibers releasing the tension and the associated issues that tension causes, see more here
5 Benefits of Myofascial Release 1) Decreases Pain 2) Helps you relax 3) Improves Flexibility 4) Accelerates Recovery after Exercise 5) Makes you Happier
Mobility requires that muscles be at the functionally optimum length and that joints Range Of Movement (ROM) be as loose as needed to perform the daily workout.
People who exercise use Massage Tools to get them back in the gym performing as hard as they possible can.
What other things to do for problem hamstrings?
One of the important benefits of the Fascia Stretching tools (unlike foam rollers, for example) is that it can be used to stretch muscles sideways, instead of lengthways (the conventional way). Sideways stretching is very effective in releasing adhesions and the fascial sheath continuum which surrounds all muscles, forms a cartilaginous skeleton within the core of muscles and ‘sticks’ them to each other. Sideways stretching is particularly effective for muscles such as the Quads, Calf, Groin and Hamstrings. From my clinical experience no other method of breaking up dysfunctional fascia works as well as sideways stretching. Sideways Stretch
But what is a hamstring? It isn’t actually a single ”string.” It’s a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh. They allow you to bend your leg at the knee.
Causes of Hamstring strain are:
None or poor stretching the Hamstrings before exercising, see the video to the right to find out how to do that stretch.
Not doing warm up exercises before doing more strenuous exercises.
Not stretching the quadriceps at the front of the leg this puts the hamstrings under more pressure as they oppose the action of the hamstrings.
Weak glutes put the hamstrings under more pressure as they work together. The hamstrings have to work much harder if the glutes are weak
Treatment for a Hamstring Strain?
Rest the leg. Avoid putting weight on the leg as best you can. If the pain is severe, you may need crutches until it goes away. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if they are needed.
Ice your leg to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days, or until the pain is gone.
Compress your leg. Use an elastic bandage around the leg to keep down swelling.
Elevate your leg on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only short term, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.
Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor/physical therapist recommends them. Strengthening your hamstrings is one way to protect against hamstring strain.
Where the muscle is torn, you may need surgery.
Lower Back Massage Tools
All the mobility tools except the massage guns mentioned above have a beneficial effect on lower back pain. It is almost impossible to use these tools on your back yourself, you would need somebody else to do it to you!
Some do the job better than others.
Massage tools should soften the muscles that surround the spine. They do this by compressing those muscles and stretching them when you move on the tool.
The beauty of having your own tool is that you can use them when ever you feel you need it or will benefit from using it. This convenience is why these tools are gaining more and more fans, it also enables the user to learn what works for their back pain.
If your pain has a disc component, then arching your back backwards (extension) and rotating it from side to side will help your recovery. Laying on your back massage tool should allow you to arch your spine gradually, so you do not increase your pain. I have written more about this here
Deep Tissue Self Massage Tools
To be able to massage deeply the massage tool needs to be able to penetrate to the depth required to reach the trigger points and fascial sheets that are causing the problems.
This means you need a massage tool that has a small diameter surface of between 20-40 mm that can contact strongly in the area you feel the pain or discomfort.
This means that the bigger diameter tools like the foam rollers, spikey balls, and massage balls struggle to penetrate to the required depth.
Due to the strong resistance to stretching that tough fascia exhibits you need a tool that you can keep the pressure on the tight tissues for longer and longer periods of time up to 30 mins. These tissues remember their original length and so you need to spend enough time on the tool to make a permanent change in the length of the fibers.