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Unsnagging Your Sweater with Self Myofascial Release

Do certain parts of your body ever feel “gummed up”? Have you ever gone to move and it feels like something is grabbing at you or adhering to a place that it shouldn’t be? It often occurs around an origin or insertion point, but can also occur near the belly of a muscle or along any fascial line. Flow Coach Scott Sonnon refers to these body hitches as “snags in your sweater.”

Just what is snagging?
Fascia. Fascia is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds, supports and protects your muscles, bones and joints. Trigger points, or areas of muscle that hurt to touch, in the fascia restrict or change how your joints move. In addition to being inefficient, this can lead to fatigue, chronic pain and injury.

Why dedicate time to unsnagging?
Trigger points compromise the tissue structure in which they are located, placing a greater strain on other tissues that must compensate for its weakness, thus creating a domino effect. Trigger points in the fascia can restrict motion and force you to repeatedly work around or alter your motion about a joint (or several joints) resulting in faulty movement pattern which changes the normal neural feedback to the central nervous system. I smell undue wear and tear or worse…an injury.

How to unsnag
Grab a lacrosse or field hockey ball, foam roller (check out the Rumble Roller or Trigger Point’s Grid roller), clubbell, bar or other object that you can use to roll on, move round on or move around on you. Basic self myofasical release (SMR) can be achieved by placing the ball or roller on the floor, then putting the area in need on the ball or roller. Use your body weight to apply the correct amount of pressure and move around on the ball or roller; working out any and all tight spots or areas that seem to be grabbing or causing pain. Get creative…get in there and release those knots!

Unsnagging in motion and pictures
For all you desk jockies out there, Mobility Wod shows a few self myofascial releases to try to relieve common back and neck trigger points (starts about one minute in). No Meat Athlete and Sport Fitness Advisor also provide several exercises you can do at home to help.

Guidelines for the new unsnagger

1. Spend 1-2 minutes per technique and on each side.

2. When a trigger point is found, hold for 30-45 seconds.

3. Breathe slowly as this will help to reduce any tense reflexes caused by discomfort.

4. Release areas above and below the snag.

5. Stay committed to making a difference. Repeat on a daily basis until the knot is gone.

SMR is an important part of your healthy lifestyle. Working out those tight spots can improve quality of life, allow you to perform at higher levels more frequently as well as prevent injury. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

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