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Physical Therapy Tools Athletes Need to do some Physiotherapy at Home (sports therapy)
I hate pain
What a crazy wind storm we just had on the east coast huh? On days like that, I use our treadmill for my daily exercise. I'm thankful to have it, but we lovingly refer to it as the dreadmill for a reason.
Treadmills are boring! Not only that, but I tend to take longer strides when walking on it, incline it quite a bit, and force myself to go faster than I would if I were outdoors on the trail.
That's a good thing right? I'm burning the calories, sweating out some toxic junk, and getting a tougher workout. However, this time around I injured my hip and lower back by pushing too hard.
An hour after my workout I was having tendinitis pain in my hip and aching in my lower back. Interestingly enough, the plantar fasciitis that I fight with on and off flared up too.
What's the term you use to describe this state of being? A hot mess? Yep, that's what I am right about now.
My husband then asked me to take a walk so of course I went. That was probably not a great idea since I was already inflamed and in pain from dreadmill walking.
Okay, so I never said I was smart. And now I sit here typing this very post with ice on the hip and the tens stim unit on my lower back.
Let me just say that without these things, I would be in a lot more pain right now so this is why I wanted to share some information about how much we appreciate the following products.
Active People Tend to Get More Injuries
Perhaps you wonder why we even have these items at home in the first place. Essentially, we are an active family and with the level of activity we engage in, comes injuries. Between all of us, we are involved in running, biking, basketball, dance, walking, swimming, yoga and some light weight lifting.
Thankfully our injuries are usually pretty minor. So, rest and these sports therapy tools which I am about to tell you about, help us get back out there faster.
You may not know this already, but after I quit my full time career as a nuclear power plant procurement technician, I stayed home with my kids for several years. After that, before becoming a special education math teacher, I worked as a physical therapy and chiropractic assistant.
This is how I learned about the benefits of the following items and also why I decided we needed them at our house. Having them at home actually results in fewer visits to the doctor. Obviously there are times when we've done a number on ourselves and must go, but it is indeed less often than it used to be!
Dare I say that we have saved more than we spent on these physical therapy tools? Yes, I dare. This is because we do some key physiotherapy at home.
Here are the physical therapy tools we have to do our own version of physiotherapy at home:
The TheraCane shown below comes in super handy (pun intended). This thing is designed so that you can work those muscle knots out in hard to reach places on your back saving your hands from having to do the work.
The smaller knobs on the side can be helpful for the IT bands and so much more. Think of the trigger points you can reach with this. It's also great for doing acupressure! For a picture tutorial on how to use this for your sports therapy needs, just look here.
The ProStretch foot and calf stretcher is another must have! I used to think the stair stretch was good enough until I tried one of these at the PT office. The design of this allows a nice deep stretch that feels good and you can tell the difference in the quality of the stretch you're getting.
Tight calves is not good for the knees either so this will help alleviate possible future knee issues. This is also very helpful for the achilles area and that pesky plantar fasciitis which I suffer from.
3.) Strassburg Sock
Along these lines, let's talk about heel spurs and what else helps relieve that first morning pain of fasciitis. (Which by the way is excruciating) I like this because unlike the hard boot, it is pretty easy to sleep with.
A good non-slip yoga mat is a necessity for comfort and cleanliness. If I laid on my floor right now, I'd be full of dog hair so I put the mat out first. We all know that stretching is critical for injury prevention but also for pain relief.
You should make sure you're doing the right stretches for the right injury. One thing I learned was that if you had an injury that was basically caused by over-stretching such as reaching with your arms and pulling a muscle, the therapy for that would not necessarily be stretching. Definitely consult a doctor or your physical therapist for the right stretches for your issue and to make sure you're doing them properly with alignment in mind.
5.) TENS Unit
These portable miracle machines are great for short term pain relief ! TENS stands for transcutaneous (through the skin) electrical nerve stimulation. Read the instructions manual carefully with this physical therapy tool. This is a must; not only for your safety but for best results.
Placing the pads in the right areas makes all the difference. These units could help increase blood flow to the injured area and help healing. They are mainly used for pain relief and for me that's good enough because I hate pain! Also if you are in less pain you could do your prescribed therapy exercises better.
Back to the feet. We can't very well do our beloved activities if our feet hurt too much now can we? I for one, at age 50 now, have finicky feet from years of abuse. You already know about the fasciitis flares but cramming my wide duck feet into dress shoes costs me dearly.
My chiropractor told me about wearing these as often as possible to help the pain from the bunions starting to form. ( I just said bunion-ugh feeling my age now.) Not only this, but these provide better balance and reduced rates of injury for walkers and runners.
7.) Heating pad
It's highly likely that you already have one of these. But do you have one that plugs in and stays warm for a long time? I do! This is the one I like to use on my low back when it's feeling tight.
8.) Ice Pack
Another staple in any household is the common ice pack. I like soft reusable ones. You may want to have a few different shapes and sizes on hand for convenience. It can be a pain in the neck to have to hold an ice pack in place for 10-20 minutes, so it's nice if it either straps on and stays put or lays well over the shoulder, etc.
9.) Roller Ball
There's not much worse than plantar fasciitis and the strassburg sock shown above definitely helps but so does rolling your foot with a ball like this. This ball has spikes that helps hit trigger points more deeply as well as improve circulation.
You simply step on this ball with it under your arch and leave it for a few seconds and repeat a couple times.
It's not only for feet it comes with an Ebook showing different massages you can do with it.
10.) Pain Creams
From arthritis to injuries, these creams can give you some relief. The Pain Relief Cream linked to here is one from a company I affiliate with and I have personally tried this one and really liked it. If you have an essential oils representative you could also try the Deep Blue by Doterra and I am certain there are many others. The idea is to make sure it has good and non-toxic anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Well, that's about it! With these physical therapy tools at your fingertips, you can save money and time on doctor visits. More importantly though, they will save you from unnecessary pain and agony. This way, you can go for that nice long walk or run or bike ride, and still go about your day with a smile.
If you want to learn more about fitness, you start by reading our post on working major muscle groups with cross training.
*Disclaimer physiotherapy at home-The information provided in this website is for informational purposes. It is based on my own personal experiences and opinions. I am not a medical doctor and what is written should not be used to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. The product links are not meant to be construed as medications or treatments and you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements, herbal products, or starting exercise programs.