I’ve never been a huge promotor of therapy tools and products, but there are a few that I find myself recommending to my patients regularly. I decided to come up with a list of my favorite products based off of frequently asked questions from my own patients. Hopefully you find this helpful if you are in need of some self care!
Keep in mind, no rehab tool in the world will replace exercise. NOTHING is better than movement. Pretty much all of these products are only meant to be used in conjunction with movement, not replace it.
1. Foam roller
There are a million and one versions of foam rollers out there. They have all sorts of knobs, ridges, vibration, etc. I stand by the plain jane model, because it still gets the job done. The goal of using a foam roller is to make a neurological change in the tissue to help it relax, so really there is no difference between using the cheap standard model versus the rolls royce model.
Here’s the basic model that I like the most
Another great option for travel or your sports bag
This is a great tool to work on those stubborn trigger points yourself. Tennis balls are a perfectly acceptable cheaper alternative to buying a theracane, but what I like about this is you can get more areas that the tennis ball cannot reach. Sometimes, it’s super frustrating trying to get the tennis ball in exactly the right spot, and when you do, it falls. Try this instead! It’s great for keeping in your desk at work.
Link to theracane
3. Ice pack
It’s always smart to have an ice pack in your fridge, just in case you do get hurt. Anytime you see swelling, the faster you get ice on it the better. These are the types of ice packs you will see in a PT clinic and are the best, because they are made out of thicker material that will hold up to freezing and thawing a million times. I have had mine for at least 6 or 7 years!
This one is great for larger areas, like the back
This one is great for wrapping, like the knee or shoulder
4. Heating Pad
On the flip side of ice is heat. A heating pad is great to have on hand for day to day aches and pains or to use prior to stretching for increased pain relief. It is important to make sure you know when to use ice vs heat, so grab your free handout here!
My favorite heating pad
A microwavable option
5. Compression Socks
Not the kind your grandma used to wear, but the sporty kinds. I recommend these all the times for people who have had ankle/foot injuries to help keep the swelling under control. Also, if you have had a lower body injury and are planning on traveling, grab a pair of these bad boys to wear. Sitting for periods of time in the car or the pressure of being on a plane can really increase swelling, which is not something you want!
Link to compression socks
Yes, I love free weights and barbells, but sometimes you need to go back to basics. Having a set of therabands at home is a great way to work on your stability exercises. Plus, they are portable and can travel with you anywhere. If you travel a lot for work, this is a great option rather than having to go to the hotel gym. There are so many things you can do with therbands, go check out my blog post on it for some great exercise examples!
Another more versitle option
Ok, this is an expensive one and not something I regularly recommend to my patients. But I can’t deny, people love it and it does feel great. There are plenty of other, cheaper tools you can use for soft tissue work so don’t go run out and buy this. However, if you are super active and will get your money’s worth, it’s a good investment. Just always remember- this is a tool, NOT a replacement for exercise/movement!
Link to Hypervolt
Remember, all of these products are only meant to be used as tools and NEVER replace the need for PT and corrective exercises.
If you have a current injury, I strongly encourage you to set up an appointment and we can further discuss which of these tools may be most beneficial to you!
**I do not have any affiliate relations for these products and do not get compensated in any way if you choose to purchase one!