The pain face and groans are common place when the lacrosse ball is busted out and used for some soft tissue work before class.
As previous mentioned Lacrosse Balls are awesome for mobility work and ironing out that soft tissue, but is that pain the lacrosse ball brings, normal? no.
Something we looked at on the recent 5 week mobility course was, what is normal tissue and how should it feel.
How do we know when our tissues are normal? The answer of course is when we have full, unimpeded pain free function. Most times when mobilising, we can tell a tissue is normal when three conditions are all met.
1) The tissue being mobilised is pain free. Normal tissue is painless to compression, of any kind. Even a lacrosse ball nut-shot to the quads, or a gorilla super-friend calf smash should feel like wait for it, pleasant pressure.
2) The tissue being mobilized feels normal. Imagine yourself as being comprised of layers of warm silk sliding over steel springs. Stiff, beef jerky like tissues may not be painful, but they sure aren't normal.
3) During mobilisation you shouldn't experience or express strange sympathetic nervous system responses. You have to always be able to breath, and breath normally. You can't make crazy horse eye or a creepy pain face. Back at the very beginning of the Mobility Project, we talked not going into the pain cave. If your mobilisations are so aggressive that you are inducing a flight or fight response, chances are you are too deep and that tissue is definitely not normal.
simple rule to use when mobilising is, if it feels sketchy, its sketchy. So Stop.