From the dreaded foam roller to a ' neck cloud ' which gadget is best for home use ?
More and more people are embracing the idea of self-care. Taking responsibility for your health is a great idea. However, it’s also led to a rise in the number of products you can buy to help you look after yourself and treat medical issues at home. For example, we’ve started to see many different gadgets to treat muscle pain, from foam rollers and resistance bands to the neck cloud. Are they a good way to treat your muscle pain? If you’re tempted to try one, here are a few things to consider.
There could be another solution
Our lives have become increasingly sedentary, and a lack of movement can lead to muscle pain and stiffness. Posture should be dynamic and not static; the best position for your posture is always the next one. When we sit for too long, we find ourselves standing up and wincing because something has stiffened up. We recommend that you move around for two minutes for every 30 minutes sitting down.
Whilst increasing the amount you move may not solve your muscle pain if you’ve developed an issue, it can help to prevent it in the long term.
Gadgets are one size fits all
A static gadget, for example, the neck cloud, is built to be a standard size. But, unfortunately, people don’t come in standard sizes. We each have different proportions. Some people have long legs with short bodies, and others are the other way around.
Static gadgets force you into a standard shape that might not be right for you. It could even push you into a position you don’t need to be in and worsen your symptoms. For example, the neck cloud gives one of our physiotherapists pins and needles in her neck and makes her fingers go numb............That’s not the result we’re looking for.
" People don't come in standard sizes so one size doesn't fit all "
Do you know how to use the gadget properly?
A gadget such as a massage gun can help to relieve your muscle pain, but only if you know how to use it properly. Your chosen instrument should come with instructions, including advice on where not to use it. Massage guns can apply intense pressure, which might be great for tight muscles.
However, it can cause damage if you use it in the wrong place, for example, on the front of your neck or overteh kidneys. Some people love foam rollers ( personally I hate them ! ), but you can easily go over the top with the pressure and end up causing damage.
It's important to have proper guidance on using any gadget as part of your treatment..
Do you know what the problem is?
Problems aren’t standard, and there can be many different explanations for a single symptom. You might assume that you know what the problem is and buy a gadget to start treating yourself, only to find that it worsens your pain. Many people opt for a self-diagnosis via Dr Google or look for stretches on YouTube. The main issue with this is that the algorithm shows you what it thinks you want to see, so you might get the worst-case scenario or miss something more serious because you didn’t get a proper diagnosis.
Before investing in a gadget, ask yourself how you know it will work.
You may not get the right treatment balance
Recovery from pain or injury often involves using a combination of different techniques. For
example, stretching can help to make you more flexible and ease stiffness. However, building strength in your muscles and joints can also be important to give you good overall control and stability.
A physiotherapist or sports therapist will give you exercises to do at home to aid your recovery, but we sometimes find that people focus on the ones they’re good at. If you design your own treatment programme, you may miss an essential part of the process.
If you’ve had an injury or are in pain, seeing a physiotherapist or sports therapist gives you professional advice that’s tailored to you. First, we can assess you so you know exactly what the problem is. Then, we’ll help you to get the proper care. That could be with us or your GP. A self-care gadget might be a helpful part of your treatment if used correctly, or it could become the physiotherapy equivalent of a kitchen gadget gathering dust in the back of a cupboard. We can guide you on how to use it safely.