We are constantly using our muscles all day but what do we do to take care of them? Do you go and get a regular massage or ask your partner constantly to help loosen your muscles? Here’s a tool that can help you take care of your body.
What does a foam roller do?
A foam roller is simple a foam cylinder. They come in a variety of lengths and densities but essentially all do the same job. They are primarily used for self-myofascial release. This is a fancy term for self massage. So, what are muscle fascia?
Fascia is like the translucent skin you see on chicken – it is a fibrous connective tissue that helps to connect your muscles, blood vessels and nerves allowing some sections to be bound together and other sections to slide smoothly over each other. This smooth gliding is a crucial component of normal, pain free movement.
Sometimes fascia can get ‘stuck’ and prevent us from being as flexible as we need to be. This is where the foam roller comes in. We can use it to roll out the ‘stuck’ sections of fascia, increasing our flexibility and mobility and often reducing pain.
Foam rolling can be done pre and post exercise, as well as on a daily basis to roll out all the lumps and bumps that we get after a long day of work.
5 reasons to use a foam roller
- Self massage tool – save $$$ on massage therapist
- Increases flexibility – by loosening up the fascia
- Can be used at your leisure – great if you haven’t got the time to see your physiotherapist
- Anyone can use it – anyone from newbies to high profile athletes
- Ability to fix a sore spot yourself – the onus is on you to take care of your body
Foam Rolling Techniques
How to foam roll:
- Place the appropriate body part on the foam roller
- Roll with the line of your muscle using your body weight to apply the pressure
- Use your arms and legs to adjust the pressure applied to the muscle you’re rolling
- Foam roll approx. 10mins daily
- Use it as a warm up and cool down to exercise or sports
- If you find ‘knots’ or a gnarly section spend extra time working on it
Foam rolling is an excellent self -management tool to allow you to take control of your body and address any mobility issues that you may be having.
How can physiotherapy help you?
Physiotherapy can help educate you on how to foam roll and whether it will be beneficial for you. We can also help to:
- Improve flexibility
- Improve mobility
- Ensure correct technique is being used while foam rolling