• How to Use a Foam Roller The Right Way

    March 07, 2018 | By Tony Yong

    Using a foam roller offers plenty of great benefits for your body. It’s a fantastic and inexpensive piece of equipment that can help work out the knots in your muscles, while also improving your circulation and reducing stress.

    A foam roller is a great tool to help prevent exercise related injuries by prepping muscles before engaging in strenuous activities. Plus, if you use a foam roller after your work out, it will help you with recovery and limit your soreness.

    Regularly using a foam roller can improve flexibility – so it’s definitely worth adding to your health and wellness regime!

    To get you started, check out the following tips that will help guide you towards completing an effective foam rolling session.

    Don’t Roll For Too Long

    It may feel like you really need to work on those knots, but rolling for too long can actually work against injury prevention and increase tissue inflammation.  Spend 30 seconds max on trigger points and 60-90 seconds rolling out the area for the most beneficial results. It’s also important to be patient while you roll out your muscles and not go through each section of your body too quickly. Taking your time will help your muscles relax, and ultimately allow for an increase in circulation, range of motion and overall flexibility.

    Keep Breathing 

    Be mindful of your breathing during your foam rolling session. It’s important to keep breathing at a normal pace (even on those sore spots!) so that you are consistently oxygenating the muscle. Holding your breath will cause your body to tense up and leave with a massage that isn’t as deep and restorative as it could’ve been. 

    Don’t Roll Over Joints

    A foam roller is meant to relieve soft-tissue tension – so don’t roll over any bony parts of your body! Doing so can cause your joints to hyper-extend and leave you in more pain. Be sure to avoid your ankles, elbows, hips, knees and shins to dodge unwanted injuries. 

    Avoid Rolling Your Lower Back

    Many of us hold a lot of tension in our lower back, so using the foam roller on this area may seem like a great idea. However, in this case using a foam roller to relieve lower back pain isn’t a good move. Why? Well, it can increase the pressure on discs and vertebrae and lead to your spinal muscles to spasm in an effort to try and protect the spine. Save yourself from more pain and stick to stretching your lower back for relief. You can also try rolling out muscles like the piriformis, hamstrings, and hip flexors to help release any pressure and tension you may have in your lower back. 

    Roll Around the Pain 

    Although rolling can sometimes be uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you should be pushing into painful points on your body. If you feel pain, roll over the surrounding areas as the pain may be stemming from imbalances in other areas. You’re more likely to harm than help yourself if you go straight for the painful spot. For instance, instead of painfully rolling over your ITB, try rolling your tensor fascia latae (TFL), which is the muscle that attaches onto the ITB. Your TFL lies from the top of your pelvis to just above the bony prominence below your hip – so give it some attention!

    Be sure to contact us if you have any questions or need a consultation.

    Book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our 6 clinics located throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park including Riverbend, Meadowlark, Belvedere, Namao, Sherwood Park or our newest clinic in West Henday.