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How to Use the New Spinefitter Trigger Tool

How to Use the New Spinefitter Trigger Tool

The Spinefitter by SISSEL has proven to be a very useful addition to any movement practice, delivering multiple applications to help improve proprioception, balance, feedback and awareness, as well as supporting self-massage work. It’s wonderful for groups, and individual sessions, and is affordable as a versatile home program prop.

Now there’s a new way to take your Spinefitter to the next level.

With the Trigger Tool, you can turn your Spinefitter into a powerful device for massaging and releasing tight and tender areas on your own. You can also use it to get into those hard-to-reach areas that even your massage therapist can’t access—or maybe you just don’t want your massage therapist to go there!

The concept of trigger points remains controversial—after many decades, trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome are not well understood, and we don’t have a proven explanation for what is actually going on in these sensitive, tender, sore, or tight areas. Whatever the cause, self-massage with the Trigger Tool can be a convenient, inexpensive way to provide relief.

Here are a few important considerations before you begin exploring the Trigger Tool:

  1. Before trying some of these techniques, it’s helpful to warm up the area either with movement or with heat. The linum cover is a nice addition for this purpose.
  2. Do not use the Trigger Tool with acute injuries, fractures, immediately post-surgery, or in the presence of wounds.
  3. Do not use the Trigger Tool if you are taking blood thinners.
  4.  If you are not able to put the body in the recommended position, find a position you are able to comfortably attain.
  5. Start by applying the Trigger Tool in an area that is sore, but not acutely so. You should be able to breathe deeply, even though there may be discomfort. Gradually work your way toward the more painful area, either by modulating your pressure into the Trigger Tool, and/or by beginning on the outer edges of the painful area.
  6. Imagine melting or softening your tissues into the Trigger Tool. When the area you’re working with desensitizes, move to the next area—listen to your body and it will inform you where to focus next.
  7. Placement of the tool—you can place the Trigger Tool anywhere along the length of the Spinefitter, either horizontally or longitudinally.

There are endless ways to explore the small but mighty Trigger Tool (TT). Here are some basic suggestions to get you started:

Supine Applications

  1. Spinal muscles. Feet can be flat (as pictured) or against the wall. The TT is placed horizontally across the Spinefitter at a level of the spine you wish to target, and the points of the tool are placed in the spinal erectors on each side of the spinous processes. Apply pressure with lumbopelvic mobility motions such as pelvic clock and rotation.
  2. Cervical/sub-occipital area. Lie with the length of the Spinefitter over your head, and the TT horizontally across the 2nd or 3rd row of balls. Make sure the occiput can be supported on the Spinefitter and place the TT in the sub-occipital area. Circle, nod and move the head and neck to apply pressure into the sub-occipital and cervical tissues.

Side lying

  1. Lie on your side with the TT placed horizontally across the Spinefitter. Legs can be bent or straight. Use a prop to support the head and lower arm if needed. Apply pressure to the lateral tissues by rotating forward and back, or move yourself atop the Spinefitter to target the later HS or Quads more specifically. The same principle can be applied to the lower leg (not pictured). Move the body and/or the Spinefitter to target the lateral hip, thigh and lower leg.
  2. Repeat the application above with the TT placed vertically/in line with the Spinefitter. This is a much more intense application!

Prone

  1. Quad focus. Lie prone with the TT placed horizontally across the Spinefitter. Lie prone with one thigh on the TT/Spinefitter and the other on the mat. Apply pressure variations by bending/straightening the knee and rotating the hip.
  2. Repeat the above application with the TT in line with the Spinefitter. (not pictured) This will be more intense.

Seated

  1. Sit on a firm surface with the Spinefitter across the base of the pelvis and the TT placed in line with the Spinefitter. Play with using the TT on either side of one sit-bone. Vary pressure by moving the pelvis and weight shifting.
  2. Sit as above with one side of the pelvis on the TT/Spinefitter and the other side on the seat. Lift and lower the seat side of the pelvis to fully load onto the TT and produce a more intense. experience (not pictured).
  3. Move the Spinefitter and the TT from #2 to the back of one thigh to apply pressure to the hamstring area. Vary the application by aligning the TT horizontally to the Spinefitter.

Standing (feet)

  1. Stand with the Spinefitter on your mat, TT horizontal to the Spinefitter. Place one foot on the TT and apply pressure by shifting your weight forward and back, and moving the foot on top of the TT.

Lindy Royer is the founder of PM Center for Movement, a Personal Mastery and Integrated Movement company based in Centennial CO. She is a PMA-certified Physical Therapist and a member of the Balanced Body faculty. In her role at Balanced Body, Lindy brings her expertise in Physical Therapy, movement, pain science, and personal mastery to the exploration of whole body efficiency and health.

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