relieve back pain

Photo: Courtesy of The Roll Model

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The Laziest Possible Way to Give Your Back a Massage
What you need: Two tennis balls or Yoga Tune Up balls

What to do: Lie on your back on the floor. Put the balls under your back, side-by-side, resting horizontally along the band of your sports bra. Inhale a massive ribcage breath, then exhale the air by squeezing your ribs together, flattening the balls beneath you. Repeat 5 times.

What it does: Miller calls this type of move "sustained compression." The balls press into specific tissues, slowly prying them apart. As a result, small sections of the fascia stretch and lengthen, relieving tension.

How that feels: This should release some of the tightness in the upper back. You can use this same technique with other points in your body that may feel sore (after an intense workout or a really long day at work—glutes, calves, neck). Miller advises against pressing the balls directly on an especially tender spot (it's too intense); instead, she says to tease toward the area, allowing the balls to sink into the tissue just around it, holding the pressure for 90 to 120 seconds at a time.

The Essential Move for Anyone Who Runs, Jumps, Squats or Even Just Walks

What you need: A foam roller

What to do: To work your hamstrings and glutes, start by sitting on the roller with your hands on the ground behind you. Create a small zigzag motion with your hips and thighs while you simultaneously roll down your legs toward your knees, then back up to your glutes. When you hit a tight spot, create friction at that spot by wiggling yourself from side-to side while the roller stays stationary.

What it does: Miller says this "global shearing" move pulls, twists and wrings the skin and its underlying tissues away from your body and each other, unsticking large swaths of the tissues and restoring their ability to slide and glide.

How that feels: The back of your legs should feel loose and limber, as if you've been stretching them.