I've seen some chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists in the past with only temporary results that delay the issues. I realize that it's actually best to combine two methods, one where you seek external assistance and leverage the professionals' expertise, and one where you enrich your own knowledge, apply and set good habits to consistently practice improving your own condition. It's like how you motivate yourself to workout, except here you motivate yourself to heal. So far my current muscle maintenance regimen to heal myself looks something like this:
1. Warm-up with cardio
Since I had been out of shape compared to when I was hitting the gym regularly and took time off because of injuries, I (re)started with a stationary bike because it is an easy, low-impact exercise to promote increased blood circulation throughout the body. Currently I have worked up to doing jumping jacks and high-knees as a more efficient and spontaneous warm-up (and better to not become reliant on machines for workouts).
2. Foam roll tight and short muscles
I recently ordered a new foam roller that is the firmest, versatile and compact one I've seen so far. I've been practicing foam rolling with it on areas that were overcompensating because of weaker opposite muscles in order to release them.
3. Stretch tight and short muscles
After foam rolling, it's important to lengthen them so they become more balanced compared to other areas of the body so that your overall function and flexibility is more optimal. Often times we remain in the same positions for an extended period of time, especially such as sitting behind a desk. Stretch and position your body in ways that you have not typically moved in for a long time to train your mind and body how to properly move in a better range of motion once again.
4. Strengthen weaker opposite muscles
Once the tight muscles have been addressed, the next logical step would be to strengthen the weaker muscles. When the tight muscles are released they will have less pull on your body which opens up the opportunity to build the opposing sides to balance the force applied on the body.
I've been reading about foam rolling and have the impression that although it may be painful to use, I've learned to distinguish between the pain felt from receiving actual damage, from the pain felt because of damage that has been done for a long time already and the foam roll was just pointing it out. You know how it can hurt sometimes when receiving a massage from a massage therapist but feels better after the fact? It helps to train oneself to become mentally tougher without the same risk of actual damage to your muscle tissues like in other things such as sports.
Foam rolling also has prepared me mentally for the pain I received from my recent massage treatments from a new TCM doctor and his massage therapist business partner. The massage treatments I've received were the hardest and most painful I've ever felt so far, but I feel like it's improved my pain tolerance, made me mentally tougher and of course been helping me heal. I now leverage the massage treatments to target my tight and chronically overused muscles while I work on the weaker opposing muscles, such as the glute maximus and glute medius. I set a strict goal with deadline that I would be healed of these issues by the end of the month, and thankfully it looks like things are progressing well.
Sometimes we all need external assistance to help us make the transformation that we need that we can't do ourselves.