February 28, 2022
What is a Foam Roller?
A foam roller is a lightweight foam cylinder that you use to self-administer deep tissue massage. Foam rolling releases muscle knots, relieves inflammation, and improves overall comfort.
It can also increase your range of motion, flexibility, and mobility while boosting circulation and lymphatic flow.
It takes a bit of practice and time to use a foam massage roller effectively. The nice thing about foam rolling is that you can use it almost anywhere you can get a little floor space.Before you get started, remember to go slowly, ease into the pain spots, and hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds.
Upper Back and Neck
Start from the top down. It'll help you remember which exercise to do next to release the trigger points causing your back pain. Your neck is sensitive, so use caution around this area.
Lay on the floor with your back flat and the roller behind your neck. Let your neck arch over the roller gently to allow a good stretch for 10 seconds. Use your legs and arms to slowly push against the roller so the roller moves under your shoulders.
Let your neck arch toward the floor allowing for a light stretch and hold this position for 10 more seconds.
Keep rolling until you get to pain spots in your mid-back. Don't hold the roller on the pain spot yet. Start just above or below it and hold the roller for 10 seconds in place as you inch toward the trigger points.
Once you've done that, arch your back over the roller to get a good stretch. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds to lengthen the muscles in your back.
Lower Back/Hip Flexors
Do you sit at a desk all day? Don't forget to use a foam massage roller to ease lower back pain. As you work your way down your back, this is one place where you don't want to work your lower back directly. Instead, turn your body so your head and chest are facing toward the floor. Push your body up so your butt hovers off the floor.
Push the roller along the hamstrings first, and then along your calf muscles. Again, stop at each trigger point and hold for 10-20 seconds. Once you're done with the back of your legs, roll over into a plank with the foam roller under your quad muscles. Roll slowly from just above your knees to your hips. Find the sensitive spots and hold.
How Often Can I Foam Roll My Back?
A good rule of thumb is to start small and work your way up. It’s okay to foam roll multiple times a day (3 times at most), but if you’re new to foam rolling, you may over-do it. Start by rolling out your back muscles once a day. Choose three to five areas to start. Once a week, have a long session of foam rolling your back where you engage in each of these exercises. Be sure to drink plenty of water after you foam roll to help your body get rid of built-up toxins.
These basic foam rolling exercises provide complete back pain relief. For those new to foam rolling, do these foam rolling stretching exercises three times a week for best results. If you’ve been foam rolling for two months, feel free to do these exercises once to three times a day for maximum relief.
While foam rolling and myofascial release aren't miracle cures for back pain, they do give an incredible amount of relief for those people who experience generalised pain not caused by other medical conditions.
It stretches muscles, improves circulation, and feels great. These techniques can lead to better healing in your muscles, improve posture, and lead to less pain in the long run.
And the best part is that foam rolling provides the same benefits as a massage without the hefty price tag.