As an occupational therapist working with children and adults with developmental, sensory and/or learning disabilities for over 40 years, I have made many weighted and/or fidget tools to place on laps, hands and shoulders to provide deep pressure sensory stimulation.
I usually made materials heavy by filling a bag with sand before inserting it into a pillow case for the lap or large sock to wrap around the shoulders. Sometimes I choose the option of placing a Vibrating tool such as a motorized tooth brush inside the bag for added stimulation.
Now, I have adapted these tools to help reduce muscle spasms and pain in my back.
Accupressure and Massage to Decrease Back Pain
I am sharing my personal story and nothing I write should be construed as advice, nor even correct. My expertise is in the areas of child development, developmental disabilities and sensory processing disorders. Check out my books!
After filling the bag with small, HARD objects that are not sharp, I can lay on top of it and wiggle until an object digs into a tight muscle at just the right spot. Small blocks work well.
Individualize the bag contents to meet your needs.....
What are Accupressure and Myofascial Release?
I don't know whether or not I am actually doing accupressure or Myofascial Release, but I am applying pressure to the points on my back that are tight and painful. A myofascial release therapist taught my husband and myself how to apply pressure by
- pressing my back on top of a hard object (such as in the bag) while supine,
- my husband pressing his knuckle or elbow into the muscle or
- my leaning against a chair back edge, wall edge or back on a tree that can press into the muscle.
You may experience some slight discomfort as your tissues release tension. While many patients leave a MFR session feeling very relaxed, it’s not uncommon for there to be some residual muscle soreness. The soreness is "thought to result from postural and alignment changes or from the techniques themselves." (1)
Using an Accupressure Mat
I have found an accupressure mat helpful in both reducing muscle spasms and providing deep pressure sensory stimulation to decrease my anxiety. As I lay on top of it, I can rub my hands on the mat while stimulating my back muscles.
The following video shows the injured muscles I am trying to apply accupressure, MFR or/and massage to release tension and reduce pain.
After my first injury about 15 years ago, I was unable to touch my hands behind my back and shoulder extension was very limited on the left side. I was greatly helped by a therapist trained to do myofascial release. Yes, it caused pain, but the long term results were remarkable
My current physical therapist suggested that I do exercises to target and strengthen these muscles. That's a great idea and I do this, but I get the most pain relief from deep pressure to the muscles surrounding my scapula that often have spasms. Unfortunately, my current physical therapist is not trained to do myofascial release......
Using the "Bag of Hard Objects"
I focus on wiggling on top of the BHO until I find the right spot and then hold it there for 20-30 seconds to target
- my lower back muslces which are weak due to years of bad posture and;
- scapular muscles on my left side injured from lifting weights at a gym and later the muscles surrounding my right scapula after falling off a bicycle.
I wiggle and massage my back by moving the bag to different areas while also doing full body stretch moves such as "bridging" .
Just explore movement and what feels good....and don't worry about looking weird..... In the following photo, I am slowly rolling my back off the floor, one vertebrae at a time andd then back down to again apply pressure using the BHO.
Explore raising legs during your back treatment.
Although the weight of gravity helps pull me down on top of the BHO, I also reap benefits from adapted seating using a BHO or accupressure cushion. In the photo below, I wiggle my back against an accupressure cushion. It feels good!