Dealing with chronic pain is certainly no joke.
It is also big business, however.
With millions of pain sufferers in this country, the sheer amount of noise in the healthy living sphere can be a little overwhelming. With thousands of products and services all clamouring for your business, it is very important to cut through such noise.
In that vein, the following will offer a balanced and detailed look at a pain-management product called the Thera Cane.
If you’ve never heard of this, it is an odd and deceptively simple looking self-massaging tool that nonetheless claims — and is backed up by thousands of evidently happy customers — to be effective in helping you remove muscle knots or painful trigger spots anywhere on your body.
The following will present an overview of the Thera Cane, how it works, who it may work best for, and how it compares to other options. I’ll also throw in my own experience with using one for the first time.
Say ‘Hello’ to the Thera Cane
Many people have things they just can’t help buying. For the camera lover it’s bit’s of camera equipment like lenses and tripods, for the DIY lover it’s equipment for the toolbox, but for me, it’s searching for and looking for the best myofacial release tools.
I’d heard about the Thera Cane many times and I finally decided to get one to test and review it.
The Thera Cane is a cane-shaped plastic tool, measuring 25 x 15 x 1 and weighing about a pound, that has six pressure knobs that are designed to reach and massage any sore spot or muscle knot you may have.
If you are new to the whole idea of myofascial release, we’ll look at it in more detail in the next section.
What is Myofascial Release?
The Thera Cane claims to work by achieving something called “myofascial release”. Myofascial refers to the tough, thin and fibrous tissue that surrounds, protects and connects your muscles, bones, nerves and joints.
The “release” part of the term refers to exactly what happens during conventional massage therapy. While certainly not free of charge, massage therapists commonly work wonders on people’s muscles by kneading and twisting knots of tense muscles into relaxation.
Myofascial release relieves pain of all kinds, even migraines and something called referred pain. This is when pain in one problem area can be the source of pain in another area. Further, it can also improve your blood and lymphatic circulation, can be a crucial treatment for those with limited mobility, and of course can make you feel wonderfully limber and relaxed. The health benefits of myofascial release are clear.
Simply put, this type of therapy — which is the core functionality that the Thera Cane claims to provide — gets impressive results that are long-lasting.
Choosing the Thera Cane Compared to Other Alternatives
If you’ve done any kind of search on the Thera Cane you’ll have come across a lot of alternative products that seem similar to the Thera Cane if not identical. Since this product hit the market and sold well, several Chinese-made counterfeits appeared.
Personally, I didn’t want a replica, I wanted to try the real thing so i made sure I bought the real Thera Cane. I have no idea how the cheaper canes compare but I can’t imagine that they would be as sturdy or durable as the real thing. It’s fairly easy to make sure you buy the real one as Thera Cane are registered as sellers on Amazon, so if you make sure you buy from them, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Also available on Amazon are several products that are very similar to the Thera Cane. A particularly popular alternative is the Body Back Buddy. The main difference between these very similar looking products comes down to the Thera Cane generally superior durability and ergonomics versus the Body Back Buddy’s higher functionality owing to its total of 11 relaxation knobs.
How does the Thera Cane work?
Explaining how the Thera Cane works is quite difficult. The best way is to watch a few examples as shown in the video below.
The real beauty behind the Thera Cane is that you can use it in whatever way it suits you. You can use the knobs that stick out to push into tight muscles and use the hook to reach areas in your back that are usually inaccessible.
The owners manual has listed out other ways you can use the Thera Cane.
How Did the Thera Cane Work for Me?
After a week or so of using the Thera Cane I had pretty much worked out how it worked best for me and how it rated compared to other myofascial release tools.
I like the Thera Cane but it didn’t give me a great level of satisfaction from using it. There are some tools that you buy for the first time that immediately hits a newly discovered trigger point. I didn’t get this from the Thera Cane. Perhaps it’s unfair on the Thera Cane due to the fact that I’ve tried other tools which have already released most of the obvious trigger points on my body.
That being said, I found the Thera Cane did excel in one area.
Whilst playing around with the Thera Cane, it did prove to be highly effective in releasing my upper traps which is something I have been focusing of late as I tend to hold a lot of tension up in those areas. It’s also great for hitting the back of the neck and poking at the other muscles around the side of the neck. Hitting these areas can be done with your own hand but here’s the thing, I have started to use the Thera Cane whenever I am sitting down or watching TV. It’s perfect to put by the side of your TV chair and just pick it up to get some quick release.
On the other hand, I found everything else redundant. I wouldn’t use it on my legs as I’d rather much use a massage ball. This is the same if I wanted to roll out my back. I’d prefer to grab a foam roller or a ball and use my body weight to create the pressure. By using my own weight I get far greater release.
I do think the Thera Cane is still a great tool despite the fact that I still prefer other myofascial release tools ahead of it. I’m still relatively mobile so I am able to get on the floor and roll my back and body with intensity, however someone who needs only a delicate massage and doesn’t want to get on the floor will find the Thera Cane useful.
I believe the Thera Cane is more suited to someone who is in chronic pain or has severe mobility issues because otherwise a foam roller will prove to be more effective for most people.
Would I buy It Again?
Yes. Despite other tools being more effective for me, I would buy it again.
As I wrote earlier, I have become accustomed to using it whilst watching TV. Sometimes, I’ll just grab it whilst standing up to massage my neck, which is part of my process in correcting forward head posture which I am seeing a lot of improvements in. The Thera Cane has worked well in helping me achieve this.
I use the Thera Cane almost daily in helping to release my traps which by habit I tense up without realising. It has proven to be very effective in this particular area.
I would also buy the Thera Cane again as opposed to a cheaper alternative. The Thera Cane is very sturdy and durable, and I can envision that there would be a lot of problems if the knobs weren’t as smooth as they are on the Thera Cane, as you could cut yourself as you brush it across you skin.
A word of caution
It should be noted, though, that the six relaxation knobs on the Thera Cane are quite hard and it can be easy to apply too much pressure on problem areas. There is definitely a bit of a learning curve when first using this product. It is advisable when first using this or similar products to ease into them and not expect to cure all of your aches and pains overnight.
After using it for the first time, many will likely feel quite sore for the next couple of days. This is normal. Just be aware that too much pressure applied for too much time, can be potentially harmful.
- Great for people with mobility issues who don’t want to get on the floor and foam roll
- Able to apply gentle pressure compared to using body weight like on other myofascial release tools
- Great tool to use whilst watching TV
- If you’ve been paying for massages this could save you some money
- Sturdy and strong: It will not break
- People who want a lot of pressure would be better of with a foam roller or massage ball
- Despite it’s versatility it’s not as versatile as a foam roller of massage ball
- Might take a while to learn how to use it
- Funny shape makes it hard to store
Thera Cane Review Conclusion
Overall, the Thera Cane appears to be quite effective at delivering on its claims. For those of you with chronic muscle or joint pain, this odd looking device might be a very good option. The same could also be said for those that spend any length of time on a fitness regimen, especially strength training. Such a tool as this can help muscles heal while at the same time relieve post-workout soreness.
Besides relieving pain, the Thera Cane can replace professional massage therapy if that is not a priority or is unavailable.
A positive aspect of the Thera Cane and similar tools is that you can use it on your own, even if you have a limited range of motion or mobility. Probably the biggest selling point of the Thera Cane is that it can potentially replace other, more expensive treatments and instead place a measure of therapeutic healing power in your own hands.