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Should I Be Foam Rolling?

Most likely the answer is YES! Sometimes utilizing stretching alone is not enough to release muscle tightness. This is where foam rolling comes in. By applying direct pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and release trigger points. Trigger points are specific “knots” that form in muscles and will refer pain.

Why does foam rolling hurt?

I will be the first one to admit, sometimes foam rolling is not the most comfortable. But I know the benefits and I always feel better afterwards. Think of foam rolling as a deep tissue massage. A massage therapist is able to work out the knots in your muscles and it is sometimes uncomfortable and slightly painful. Foam rolling should be uncomfortable, similar to a pain with deep stretching or massage, but not unbearable. And more importantly, when you are done you should feel better.

I have never used a foam roller. Where do I start?

During their appointment, I usually tell my patients what areas and muscle groups they should be foam rolling. I will run through a brief demonstration so they feel comfortable foam rolling at home. I would recommend consulting with a chiropractor, physical therapist or other medical provider that has experience with foam rolling prior to beginning. Once you are ready to begin, here are a couple tips:

  1. Roll Slowly. No more than one inch per second.

  2. Avoid Rolling your Mid and Lower Back. To target these muscles, I recommend tennis or lacrosse balls.

  3. You may be sore the next day. It should feel as if the muscles have been worked/released.

  4. Just like with an adjustment or massage, drink plenty of water afterwards.

  5. I usually recommend 48 hours before focusing on the same area again.

  6. If foam rolling causes unbearable pain or you have excessive soreness afterwards, stop foam rolling and consult with a healthcare provider.

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