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Myofascial Massage Tools (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

For many patients with stiff and sore muscles, myofascial massage can bring much-needed relief. Myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain or sensitivity in various areas of the body) may be caused by repetitive motions or stress-related tension. In most people, muscle pain or soreness resolves with rest and time – maybe some ice or heat or over-the-counter medication if the pain is truly terrible. For people with myofascial pain syndrome, however, the pain persists; it may even get worse.

What Myofascial Massage Tool Should I Use?

A new infographic from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides some valuable information for patients suffering from myofascial pain syndrome. The infographic lists five different classes of myofascial massage tools, as well as what areas of the body they’re designed to target.

We’ve reposted the full infographic below on the Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics blog. Please note: follow the ACSM’s recommendations and use devices for a short time, increasing use progressively. Start with softer devices before trying firmer ones. Also, to quote ACSM, “Some discomfort is okay; pain is not.” If you do experience any pain while using a myofascial massage tool, stop use immediately and contact your sports medicine physician or primary care doctor. If you have any questions about what myofascial massage tool is right for you, talk to your physician to learn more.

    • Massage Cane. A massage cane is a small curved-stick device with six treatment knobs which can be used to massage painful points in the neck, shoulder, upper back, lower back/glutes and feet. Massage canes are great for hitting very specific areas.
    • Foam Roller. Soft and flexible, foam rollers are excellent for hitting general areas. It’s easy to adjust the pressure applied by adjusting your body weight on the device.
    • Rolling Stick. Rolling sticks allow you to roll out painful areas along the length of a muscle. These serve as firmer alternatives to foam rollers.
    • Tennis Ball, Softball, Baseball, Lacrosse Ball. The cheapest and easiest way to get started with DIY myofascial massage is the tennis ball, which allows you to target specific trigger points using just your body weight.
    • Other Body Weight-Based Massage Tools. This class of myofascial massage tools includes machines that automatically move ball-like devices at varying speeds; intensity can be adjusted by applying more or less body weight to the device.

Myofascial Massage Questions? See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

To learn more, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.