Improvised Massage Tools for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Everyday Objects That Do Double Duty

i love images/Getty Images

Few days go by that I don't long for a back rub. I've bought myriad massage implements over the years, as have a lot of people—they're big business!

But I've also discovered that if you get creative, you can turn everyday objects into massage tools. That can save you a lot of money and help you work out those muscle knots and spasms.

A quick warning, though: those of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can have negative reactions to massage. With any kind of massage, you need to be gentle and limit the amount until you know how much you can tolerate. Also, you should avoid any areas where you have allodynia. (That's what makes your skin hurt from light touch.)

Hand Rails for Back Massage

Jutta Fischer/EyeEm/Getty Images

One of my favorite things for a quick, free massage is a hand rail. It sounds strange, but if you just slide your back up and down against one, it works wonders.

I discovered this trick in a hotel elevator while traveling and it really helped get me through the trip. However, beware: strangers will look at you funny.

Any hand rail will do, but diagonal ones on stairs aren't nearly as effective. Also, make sure it's a smooth material so you don't scrape yourself or snag your clothes.

Rolling Pins as Massage Tools

Donald Erickson/Getty Images

Just about the last thing I'd consider doing these days is rolling out pie crust, so I figured out another use my rolling pin.

In my experience, a gentle roll is great for breaking up tension in the muscles. I can use it myself on my thighs and lower back, and even my kids can use it effectively on my upper back and arms.

Another kitchen implement it's great for massage is a pestle, which you can either roll or used to grind in to a sore spot. I also have round, hip-height cabinet pulls that work pretty well.

Tennis Balls as Massage Tools?

Arthur Kwiatkowski/Getty Images

Speaking of grinding into sore spots, few things help break up the muscle knots in my back better than lying on a tennis ball. I can push down on it as hard as I want and really work it in, or I can just roll a little without adding any pressure.

I've used other balls as well, but if they're too hard they can cause bruising, and if they're too big they're harder to use.

(If you're wondering why I'd own tennis balls, that's a valid question! They're great for keeping pillow filling from clumping up in the dryer. My kids used to call them laundry balls and were stunned to learn they're also used in a sport.)

Frozen Water Bottles as Massage Tools

Yagi Studio/Getty Images

I learned this trick from a friend with plantar fasciitis: freeze water in old water bottles and roll your feet over them. This one's especially good when it's hot out and, if you're like me, your feet get hot swollen.

You can also have someone else rub these on your back, or you can lay on them just like with the tennis ball.

However, if you have a cold sensitivity, make sure to be careful with this one. You don't want to get your nerves riled up and make yourself feel worse!

Learn More:

Massage & Massage Tools for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Stockbyte/Getty Images
Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you're in the market for actual massage products, you can find out about a couple of my favorite here:

When considering massage therapy or other bodywork for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, it pays to be informed. These articles can help guide you:

Continue Reading