Tennis Ball Massage Therapy

Tennis Ball Massage Therapy

Self care for back pain / muscle spasms using a TENNIS BALL.


First, some safety instructions. Keep the ball away from the actual spine/vertebrae. Too much pressure right on vertebrae can move them out of place. So keep the ball off all spinal bones. Don’t go extra wide out toward the ribs, either.

See the pictures below and notice that the tennis ball is placed just next to the spine, not on the spine.  You are targeting the muscles right next to the spine.


Let’s get started!


• Get a clean tennis ball.
• You will find it easier to work your shirt off to avoid having the ball get rolled up in the fabric.
• Find a comfortable place to lie down (carpet is nice) with about 3-4 extra feet above your head. You will be sliding across the floor.
• Place the ball at one shoulder next to your neck.
• Tuck the ball under your upper back between your spine and shoulder blade.
• Begin with your knees bent (For the initial pass, keep the ball moving without stopping, down to your low back or all the way through your hip). You may notice some spots are sensitive. You can give them more attention on the second pass.
• Second pass, take your time. Place the ball under your shoulder by your spine. Don’t move yet. Let it press on that first spot for a count of 20 seconds. Then move just 1 inch. Wait 20 seconds. Repeat all the way down. Sore spots can respond and go away with the right pressure. You can adjust the pressure by how much you let all your weight lay on the ball (you can press down on the ground with your arms to to get some of your weight off the ball). You can lift up as much as necessary if it hurts. Take time at the painful spots to see if they begin to go away. When the pain dissipates you can increase the pressure and wait for pain to slowly go away. See if you can get the full weight of your body on the ball with all the pain gone. It takes time. See how it works for you.
• Switch to the opposite side, and repeat ‘pass 1’ – all at once.  Followed by ‘pass 2’ – one inch at a time.


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This version has pros and cons. The pro is that you can cut your time in half by covering both sides of the back at once. The con is that you can’t get the full pressure that you can with just the single ball. So you can decide if you would like the full treatment, or if you are not that bad off, and can save some time.

• Place two tennis balls inside a tube sock and tie the end. You can try leaving a little space between the two so that the targeted muscles are wider on your back. You can try pushing them completely together to cover the area along the spine and its attachments.

I hope you enjoy this treatment. Let me know your feedback.

Thank you for reading.

Mark Hughes LMT CKTT CCT