Unless you are a yogi or are stretching on a very regular basis aging brings about the reality of restricted muscle movement as well as loss of flexibility or range of motion. The regular use of a foam roller has been shown to relieve various muscle pain and tightness. I am actually currently using it for my IT Band tightness and can tell you first hand that I do notice a difference. I will also tell you that the first few times that you use the foam roller it WILL be painful.
Here are some general guidelines taken from a great article on all of the technical and physiological details of why and how to use a foam roller:
- Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release.
- Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.
- Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.
- Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.
- Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.
- If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.
- Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.
- Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.
- Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.
- Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.
- Rest a day between sessions when you start.
- Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.
- After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.
- Do not use a foam roller without your physician’s approval if your have any heart or vascular illness or a chronic pain condition.
The cost of a good foam roller is generally in the $40 range. When purchasing one you will want to make sure that you don’t get just any foam roller. You are going to want to make sure that it is made out of a denser foam rather than the foam that is used to make the pool floaty thingamabobs. Here is a link to the one that I am personally using.
One other thing to consider is having a massage stick that is portable enough to take with you. As an alternative, you can also use a traditional rolling pin for this purpose.
Hopefully this information will help relieve a pain, somewhere… 😉
I very much welcome your comments.
Love, live, and ride.