The next time muscle soreness has you reaching for the ibuprofen, try reaching for a tennis ball instead. That’s right, a tennis ball. Muscle soreness and knots in the muscles (also called trigger points) can be caused by many normal activities as well as athletic endeavors.
A tennis ball is a simple, inexpensive way to massage the sore muscles and work out the knots. The goal of using the tennis ball to massage the muscles is to apply the right amount of pressure to relieve the muscle pain, but not irritate the nervous system. As you use the tennis ball it should feel uncomfortable, but not painful.
Place the tennis ball on the floor or against the wall directly under the sore muscle. Now push the sore muscle against the tennis ball and move back and forth slowly and gently. Use the tennis ball to carefully work out the knots and soreness. Once you have the right pressure, relax as much as possible, and wait for the uncomfortable sensation to fade to about 80% of the initial intensity. This achieves the muscle “release”; at this point the knot will be reduced. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes to occur. Tennis ball massage works well for the legs, buttocks and back muscles, but avoid using the tennis ball directly over the spine.