How To Manage Niggles
So, you’re now working from home? Your sitting at your make shift home office set up at the dining room table and before you know it those pesky niggles are starting to kick in. It could be some neck and shoulder stiffness, maybe you’ve got a dull ache in your low back?
But not only are you working from home, but you’ve also started your home exercise program. You’re walking daily, maybe even started running to fill in the time and get moving. Those hips are feeling tight, your knees maybe a bit sore. You’ve got some niggles!
So what do we do with all these niggles?! What are some go to strategies you can implement to help give you some relief? Let’s run through some good strategies we often recommend to help keep these pesky niggles at bay.
Heat – Why do we use heat? Heat can help promote blood flow to muscles and help reduce that sensation of stiffness. We are a big fan of using natural heat such as a hot water bottle, wheat heat pack, or hot shower over any creams or gels. Applying heat for 20minutes onto common areas like your upper traps or your glutes is one step you can take towards alleviating some niggles.
Trigger ball release – Finding a trigger point on the body can be excruciating and there a few spots which these trigger points like to hide. Your posterior capsule behind your shoulder, your TFL muscle at the front of your hip, your glutes, or your popliteus behind your knee. But how do you effectively trigger point release yourself? Grab a fascia ball or even just a tennis ball, find your tripper point and get your body weight onto it. Now the key is to hold the ball on that point for over a minute until it releases, DON’T ROLL IT AROUND! Just sit in that excruciating pleasure. The first 20 seconds will be agony and you’ll feel that deep heat burning sensation, the next 20 seconds you’ll feel the pressure start to slowly ease off, then at about the minute mark you’ll feel at that it just melts away and all you’ll feel is some more pressure from the ball. I like to describe it as this: If the pain starts out at 8 or 9/10 intensity you can pull off once it gets to a 1 or 2/10. The key is to keep holding until that point!
PSA: ONLY PICK ONE SPOT PER MUSCLE. Don’t go trying to release multiple points all at once. Pick the strongest one, hold for over 1 minute, then don’t do it again for the rest of the day. Otherwise you’ll just be bruised and battered.
Activation and mobilisation – While heat and trigger ball release are great at relieving those pesky niggles, it is only temporary and not a long term solution. The KEY is to follow up these releases with some activation of other musculature around the area and perform movement through your joints to help build stability and a more sustained relief. So how do we do this? You can’t move past your trusty TheraBand or foam roller for this. But don’t fret if you don’t have, there are plenty of other options as well. Here are some of our favourite “Go To” exercises by body area experiencing niggles:
Neck – Chin Tucks
Shoulders – Retractions, Angel Wings, Overhead Extensions
Upper/mid back – Foam Roller Extensions, Cat Cow, Book Openers
Lower back – Bird Dog, Core Sit, Side Planks, Glute Bridges, Cobras
Hips and Knees – Glute Bridges, Banded Wide Knees, Banded Crab Walks
Calf and Ankle – Runners Calf raise, Bent Knee Calf Raise, Creeper Walks
While these strategies are extremely useful and can often provide good relief, if these pesky niggles persist or worsen then it may be time to pop down and see your Physio’s to see if there is anything more going on.
NOTE: Unsure what any of the above exercises are? Don’t fret! Most are just a quick google away and for those that don’t pop up hop over to our Youtube Chanel where you’ll find all these exercises demonstrated for you https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuyRuwucVQ-X2FwwEydF1rA.
Joel has 7 years combined study and has gained experience and developed skills across a broad range of areas including sports, orthopedic rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, geriatrics, pediatrics and cardiopulmonary. Joel uses a combination of exercise therapy, manual techniques and evidence-based practice to help his clients return to optimal health and to prevent further injuries.
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