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Spikey Ball Exercises


Published July 30, 2018

There are multiple benefits of using spikey ball massage therapy for shoulder pain relief and general tension. As an increasingly popular massage technique, physio spikey ball massage is effective in reducing stress, relaxing muscles, and optimising performance.

When Should You Consider Using This Technique?

Spikey Ball is an excellent way of relieving shoulder pain and tension. Pain manifests in many different ways, and knowing how to use a physio spikey ball is not only important so you make the most of it, but also so you don’t worsen an existing injury. For sporting accidents, tension from long hours at the office, or some pain you’re not sure about, spikey ball techniques are a great way to get on the spot relief. Consider using a spikey ball for any tension or pain you may feel emanating from your shoulders. Below are some typical shoulder injuries that are known to cause pain, and remember to speak to your physiotherapist about your condition before diving in.

Causes Of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can put athletes and amateurs out of action for a variety of painful and disappointing reasons. That’s because the shoulder joint is complex. The shoulder or glenohumeral joint connecting the humerus bone to the scapula generates the most mobility compared to any other joint in the body. The shoulder is also responsible for stability and movement – at the same time making its job harder than most joints. This means the shoulder is more prone to injury, tightness, and general pain. Common causes of shoulder pain are:

Rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff is a bunch of muscles and tendons that hold the upper arm bone in the socket of the shoulder. It’s also very prone to injury. Overuse of the joint and increased stress are the typical causes, as are strains, tears, falls, and sporting injuries. Frequency and pain both increase with age and can have lasting consequences if not treated right.

Labrum tear. Cartilage surrounds the main socket stabilising the upper arm bone and with a cushioning effect. This allows for flexibility and movement of the shoulder. When torn or damaged, it results in a reduced range of motion, swelling, inflammation, and difficulty with overhead movement.

Osteoarthritis. It’s a condition that usually flares up with age, but can affect anyone. It occurs when there’s increased wear and tear of the cartilage in joints. The shoulder relies on healthy cartilage to soften joint movement and allow for fluid mobility. As a result of less protective cartilage, the joint becomes irritated causing inflammation and pain. Diseases like osteoarthritis can be painful and debilitating. It often coincides with age-related health issues such as obesity.

Stress-related pain. An often overlooked cause of shoulder pain is stress-induced tension. Stress causes muscles to seize up and can put pressure on joints, especially if underlying conditions are already causing pain and tension.

Symptoms To Watch Out For

Common symptoms in the shoulder that can warrant spikey ball treatment are the following:

  • Dull pain or ache. The shoulder joint will often present with symptoms at the back of the shoulder and and around the scapula with varying intensity. Arthritic pain usually presents closer to the joint and can radiate towards the neck or down the side of the arm.
  • Stiffness and tension. Shoulder tension can grow slowly and steadily. Stress is a major cause of stiffness but is often compounded by musculoskeletal injury.
  • Limited flexibility and range of motion. You may find reaching for the top shelf difficult or find it hard to reach behind your back. If there’s a grinding or scraping sound you should book in an appointment with a professional and avoid sharp or excessive movement.

How Physio Spikey Ball Can Help

Using a spikey ball to apply pressure to muscle tissue can ease symptoms of stiffness, while also helping to reduce pain and increase flexibility. Spikey ball techniques are simple and easy to execute. Whether you’re on a lunch break or about to head off to work, it’s a routine that can be done easily and effectively with no need for floor space or large equipment. Check out these handy exercises:

Exercises 1: ‘Back Of The Shoulder’

Start this exercise with your feet firmly on the ground, next to a flat wall. This exercise is especially good in diffusing tension following sports activities.

  • Place the spikey ball on the back of your shoulder and lean back against the wall to pin the spikey ball in place. You might want to rotate a little to the diagonal to get the best angle.
  • Using the weight of your torso, and supporting your arm with your opposite hand, move side to side giving the back of the shoulder and upper arm a massage.

Exercises 2: ‘Shoulder Blade And Spine’

This exercise is easy to do in the office, it can help if you’re stiff from sitting down for extended periods.

  • Place the spikey ball between your spine and shoulder blade. Lean back and pin the spikey ball against the wall in the desired position.
  • Move your upper body up and down, allowing the ball to massage the muscle tissue – you’ll know when you have the spot.
  • Repeat the exercise and change direction so it goes side to side. Try to feel for the tight spots within the muscles.
  • If you experience an increase in pain or a worsening of any symptoms discontinue the exercise.

Getting Professional Help With Shoulder Pain

If symptoms persist following these exercises, it could indicate a more serious or stubborn problem. We recommend getting the right assistance sooner rather than later. Shoulder pain can start faint and mellow but if left untreated, can result in further complications down the track. If you’re unsure or just want to get some good advice, get an assessment with the experts here at Integrity Physio. With a team of qualified physiotherapists, we are ready to answer any questions you may have.

Leslie Trigg

Director & Senior Physiotherapist at Integrity Physiotherapy Leslie Trigg, has over 15 years of experience in clinical practice. He has graduated with a degree in Human Biology (Anatomy and Physiology) from Curtin University in 2001 and later completed a Masters of Physiotherapy in 2007. He has tremendous experience in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, neurosurgical and sports physiotherapy. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, listening to music and spending time with his family.