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Trigger Point Release Self Treatment with a Lacrosse Ball

Trigger point release self-treatment with a lacrosse ball involves applying pressure to specific points on the body using a lacrosse ball, which can help release tension and relieve pain.

The Lacrosse Ball is the self-myofascial release tool we all love to hate. This inexpensive and highly portable ball has become a staple for athletes, weekend warriors and desk-jockeys alike. Your lacrosse ball is an excellent massage tool that will help relieve pain and improve the function of your sore muscles. We’ll be honest though; it’s not going to feel good at all.... at first. Will you cry, wince, pout or groan? Probably. You will, however, feel so much better after you get into a routine of performing self-myofascial release. Even some big babies we’ve met (not us of course😉) have developed a fondness for this “hurt-so-good" practice.

Fascia, if you are curious, is a thin layer of connective tissuethat covers the muscles and organs of your body. It connects the muscle groupstogether and can cause pain and poor mobility when disordered.

The reason for stretching and loosening the fascia is torelieve, repair and prevent misalignments of the body caused by increasedpressure on joints and muscles. When the fascia is loose, the underlying tissueis able to move freely.

We’ll use the term “Trigger Point” throughout this article.  It is often described as a muscle knot orarea of increased sensation. When you hit one, you will know immediately. Ohyes, you sure will. Breath slowly and deeply while you work through yourtrigger points. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It’s the pressurethat you apply to these points that will help to relieve the tension. What ishappening is that the muscle is already in a fighting state.  Adding pressure, makes it fight harder, whichwill eventually lead to fatigue and therefore release!  The pain will gradually (and seeminglymagically) fade away.  This can takeanywhere from a few seconds to up to 2 minutes.

Like we mentioned earlier,the first time you try this, you are probably not going to love it, or evenlike it, at all.  But, stick with it.Similar to stretching, after making it a part of your routine you will start tosee results and even, maybe, find it enjoyable. Before you get started, pleaseremember to practice safe rolling. Do not apply pressure to the bones orjoints, muscles only. If you experience pain that is beyond reasonable, ease upon the pressure. Positive effects from rolling take time!  You will not achieve loosey-goosey musclesand fascia after one session.  Also,drink plenty of water; a hydrated body is a happy body.

The benefits of lacrosse ball massage:

  • Reduced soreness and fatigue after exercise
  • Increased muscle performance
  • Increased range of motion in the joints
  • Improve blood flow and nutrient distribution

Body Areas


Have you heard the Alexander Pope Quote: “Asthe twig is bent, so grows the tree.”?
This is a perfect analogy for the body. Much of your balance andposture start at the base in your feet! As you walk, run or jump, the complexseries of joints and ligaments in your foot is meant to act as your body’sshock absorber. If the foot is too stiff, it can lead to an increase in pain orstress for the joints up the chain. So, are you ready to loosen up tightmuscles and break up scar-tissue? Let’s get to it!

You can do this move sitting or standing. The difference is simplythe amount of pressure you are applying to the ball with your foot. If you aresitting, you can increase the pressure by leaning forward with your forearms onyour thighs. If you want to stand but are having trouble with balance, hold awall, steady table, or chair for added stability.

  1. Place thelacrosse ball under the arch of your foot.
  2. Pictureyour foot divided into four quadrants. Treat one quadrant at a time by rollingthe ball back and forth and side to side.
  3. Even yourtoes will love a good roll over the ball.
  4. Aim tospend 30 to 60 seconds per foot giving extra attention to areas of highertension.

This technique is also great for those seeking to relieve plantarfasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue along the sole of yourfoot. Pain occurrs when it becomes inflamed or irritated. Using the lacrosseball to perform self-myofascial release can help break up adhesions and reducepain.

We bet your feet are feeling great now that you have released sometension. Let’s keep going and work the legs.

Legs have a lot of muscles and they all work differently.Standing, running, weight training and even sitting at a desk all day can all affectblood flow and muscle tension in the legs. Making self-myofascial release apart of your routine will relieve tightness and improve flexibility.


Trigger points in the large muscles at the back of the calves canmanifest as pain in the calf, back of the knee and the instep of your foot.

  1. Sit onthe floor with your leg stretched out, place the ball right above your Achillestendon. Keep your ankle in a relaxed position, neither flexed nor pointed.
  2. Placeyour other foot flat on the floor to help you roll back and forth over theball.
  3. Slowly roll your leg over the ball towards the back of your knee. Whenyou find a tight spot hold the position until the spot releases and the paindissipates, then continue your roll.
  4. Point and flex your toe to really work the muscle knots.
  5. Try changing your position to roll the sides of your calves as well.You can also use your hand to roll the ball over the muscles of the lower leg.

In the interest of balance, remember to give the shins sometreatment too.

  1. Start ina tabletop position on your hands and knees.
  2. Place theball under one shin and just like before, slowly roll your leg over the ballapplying as much pressure as you are comfortable with.
  3. Pause when you feel a trigger point or tight muscle, to allow it torelease.


There are two options for using the lacrosse ball on your hamstrings. You can sit on a raised surface or use the floor.

Sittingon a chair or table:

  1. Sit in a hard chair withthe ball under your hamstring muscle.
  2. Relax your leg letting itdangle.
  3. Slowly roll your ball upand down the length of your hamstring and back and forth across it.
  4. When you find your triggerpoints, hold that position until they release. You can also flex and extendyour leg until you feel the pressure release.
  5. If you want to apply morepressure, lean forward and rest your arm and bodyweight on your lap.

Onthe floor:

  1. Sit on the floor with yourlegs stretched out in front.
  2. Place the ball under yourknee and slowly roll your ball up and down the length of your hamstring andback and forth across it.
  3. When you find your triggerpoints, hold that position to allow them to release.
  4. If you want to apply morepressure, put the weight of your other leg over top of the leg you aretreating.
  5. For a BONUS release whileyou are here, put the ball at the back of your knee and squeeze the ballbetween your calf and hamstring.


This one is lots of fun. You are going to want to clear some floor-space to move around.

  1. Laying front side down,place the lacrosse ball under your quadricep.
  2. Use your forearms andother leg to support your weight as you apply as much pressure as you arecomfortable with to the ball.
  3. Roll gently up and down,back and forth pausing on the trigger points.
  4. To really work the triggerpoints try flexing and extending by bending at the knee.

Glutes and Hips

Like the feet, the hips are an important area to maintain for overall body balance and alignment. You can either sit on the floor to treat these areas or stand up and roll against a wall to gain more control over the pressure. 

Againstthe wall:

  1. Place the lacrosse ballbetween your hip/glute and the wall.
  2. Lean into the ball as muchas is reasonable comfortable.
  3. Slowly roll back andforth, up and down over the ball.
  4. Stop at the trigger pointsand hold until release.
  5. After doing this severaltimes, you may find that it gets pretty comfortable. When that happens, you cangraduate to the floor.

Onthe floor:

  1. Sit on the floor with theball under one side of your hip/glute with the opposite leg stretched out infront of you.
  2. Cross the ankle of theside being massaged over the outstretched quadricep.
  3. Using your arms forbalance, slowly roll back and forth, up and down over the ball.
  4. Stop at the trigger pointsand hold until release.


Your forearms need attention more than you may realize! Grippingheavy weights does a number on those muscles. Guess what else causes tension inthe forearms; typing and texting! The strain can transfer to elbow, wrists andhand issues such as inflammation, numbness and weakened grip-strength canresult.

For the back of the forearm I like to use a wall.

  1. Place thelacrosse ball at the wrist with your palm facing out.
  2. Roll uptowards the elbow pausing to release on those tight spots.
  3. To helprelease the tight spots, flex and extend your wrist.

To release the other side of your forearm:

  1. Placeyour lacrosse ball on a table with your palm facing down.
  2. Roll fromthe writs up to the elbow pausing to release on the tight spots.
  3. To help release the tight spots, flex and extend your wrist.


There is a great trick you can use during your back massage. To keep the ball from escaping and rolling away, put it into a pillowcase. Hold the top of the pillowcase over your shoulder with the ball hanging over your back. Now the ball will stay between you and the wall.

  1. Since your back isrelatively large compared to the other parts we’ve massaged, you may find ithelpful to work one quadrant at a time.
  2. With the ball securedbetween your back and the wall, roll up and down, back and forth in smallmovements.
  3. When you find a triggerpoint, either hold it to release or keep that ball still while you raise yourarm straight out on front of you.
  4. Lift and lower your arm afew times to help release the muscle over the ball.
  5. Continue working eachquadrant of your back and shoulders.

Wehope that you give self-myofascial release a try. At Inertia Physio+ we want tohelp you keep your body in motion. If you find any particularly difficult areasthat you would like help with, we would love to see you to assess anyadditional therapies or exercises that will help to keep you comfortable andactive wherever your life takes you.

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