It seems like foam rollers are everywhere these days, at the gym, in doctors’ offices, and in people’s homes. Athletes swear by them, and physical therapists use them in their work. But you don’t have to be a marathoner or have serious injuries to benefit from a foam roller. These handy tools are great for anyone who wants better back health.
What Are They?
Foam rollers are made of closed-cell foam and they come in a variety of sizes, densities, and textures. They work by using your own bodyweight to help perform a myofascial self-release. This release targets tension in the tissue that covers muscles and can’t be treated by simple stretching. A deep massage can achieve the same release.
Regular use of a foam roller promotes back health by helping to loosen up muscles and break down adhesions caused by tension or injury. Over time, this helps improve flexibility and mobility.
How to Properly Use a Foam Roller for Your Back
You can use foam rollers on all types of muscles, but they’re most commonly used on the upper back, abs, chest, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, and it is important to learn how to use the foam roller properly. To loosen up a tight and achy back, put the roller on the floor. Lie down with the roller directly underneath the affected muscle. Roll back and forth, letting your body weight push that muscle into the surface of the roller.
While the sensation of rolling out tense muscles can feel pleasant, it also might hurt a bit, especially at the beginning as you loosen tissues that have been tight for a long time. Breathe deeply and try to relax those muscles. Keep rolling; that uncomfortable sensation means it’s working.
Try to roll several times a week to see full benefits, especially if you are very active.
Picking the Best Roller For You
Keep in mind that there are many different sizes, shapes, and densities of foam rollers. This is not a “one-size-fits-all” device, and you’ll want to find the best foam roller for your individual back health.
You don’t want one that is so hard that you can’t relax at all, nor one that is so soft that it’s not putting pressure on the muscles. If you purchase a roller from a chiropractic clinic then you can try out a few kinds to see which one feels right. It should only take 5 to 6 rolls to know if you’ve found the correct one.
For help selecting the right foam roller or figuring out how to use the foam roller you choose, contact your local chiropractor at 100% Chiropractic today. Find out about the many ways we can help you have a happy, healthy back!