When your body hurts, a massage and a little self care can make you feel brand new.

But you don’t always book a massage session right away. Maybe its your busy schedule, or maybe it is in the middle of the night, or maybe you just threw your back out. There are massage self care tools you can do easily at home to help ease your discomfort.

What does that really mean, anyway? To “throw your back out”.

Throwing out your back usually means you’ve deeply strained the muscles in your back.

Lifting heavy objects or bending forward in an awkward position are the most common muscle strain causes. Remember, lift with your legs and engage your core!

The first thing to try is the R.I.C.E method to relieve some of the intense pain and discomfort.

REST: Pain is your body’s signal that something is wrong. As soon as you’re hurt, stop your activity, and rest as much as possible.

ICE: Ice is a tried-and-true tool for reducing pain and swelling. Apply an ice pack (covered with a light, absorbent towel to help prevent frostbite) for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours during the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury. Don’t have an ice pack? A bag of frozen peas or corn will work just fine.

COMPRESSION: This means wrapping the injured area to prevent swelling. This may be a bit challenging to wrap parts of the back, but compression will help with inflammation.

ELEVATE: If the muscles of the back are the problem, lie on your back and prop your legs on top of a chair or bench.

This method should be repeated for the next 48 hours. Then you cans switch to heat. If the pain persists, please see your doctor.

Another way to release muscles, increase blood and lymph circulation and start feeling better are to use simple massage tools.

These can also be used as preventative care. Get creative with what you find in your home. I’ve even used a door knob or jam.

Self Massage Tools:

Have you heard of a foam roller?

  • Simply, lie with your back flat on the floor and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a foam roller on the midsection of your back, just under your shoulder blades.
  • Rock your body up and down, towards and away from your feet, to massage your back and loosen up those pressure points. Keep breathing deeply and move slowly.

If you don’t have a foam roller, maybe you have a tennis ball you steal back from your pup.

Tennis balls are great massage tools. Using a tennis ball can reduce localized trigger point pain and can have an overall influence in relieving back pain.

  • Place tennis ball (not a golf ball, these can be to hard) on the floor or against a wall and gently press into the muscle group that is activated.
  • A good Idea is to move around the area of intensity to loosen those surrounding muscles and then gradually move into more intense spaces.
  • Go slow and keep breathing, use your breath to help let the tension go.

I hope some of these ideas give you some relief, and I highly recommend scheduling yourself some time for a professional massage as preventative care.