Roll away tense, tight connective-tissue pain


"You work out, you push it, you rip it, you shred it, but what about putting yourself back together?" said fitness therapy expert Jill Miller.

Yoga and Pilates offer flexibility and relaxation, but Miller says we need to do more. Her suggestion? Use two small pliable balls to press, self-massage and roll pain away.

"Putting your tissues back together again so that you can actually perform better," said Miller.

Serious training can cause damage, but so does desk work, where you're sitting in a prolonged position eight to 10 hours a day.

Stiff neck, tight shoulders, pain in the hip, low back, knees: You might be thinking it's your joints, but it's actually connective tissue.

Tissue known as fascia acts like a sleeve that actually holds muscles, tendons and joints.

"Fascia is your body's soft-tissue scaffolding," said Miller. "It provides the matrix that your muscle cells can grow upon and it also envelopes, penetrates and surrounds all of your joints."

When fascia is tight, pain can be dispersed to a broad area. Just ask fitness pro Laurie Kostman, who had foot pain called plantar fasciitis due to teaching lots of classes.

"I'm a fitness professional, I need my feet. I need to be able to jump and move," said Kostman.

Kostman is dedicated about using yoga tune-up balls nightly on her feet. The result?

"No longer limping in," said Kostman.

Miller created the RX Series for Equinox Clubs using self-massage and mobilization for 30-minute classes.

For those who aren't members, nationwide she's trained instructors and physical therapists in this format and has a DVD series for home use.

For more information about classes, DVDs and yoga tune-up balls:

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