Got Pain? Then Roll with It!
Muscular tension tends to form within the myofascial system, which is comprised of muscles and fascia (a thin layering that covers various organs and tissues) that run throughout the body. Tension in this system can come from things we encounter each day; stress (chemical, physical, emotional or psychological) or trauma, repetitive movement patterns, poor muscular condition, poor hydration and diet or bad posture.
When muscles are worked or injured, the muscle fibers and fascia around them shorten and tighten. This ‘stress’ can cause localized pain and discomfort, which can effect surrounding areas of the body and lead to dysfunction or even injury.
A massage therapist can release these pain points, but self-myofascial release can be done with a foam roller and result in the following:
- Corrected muscle imbalances
- Increased joint range of motion
- Reduced muscle soreness
- Improved performance
- Maintained normal functional muscle length
- Relieved joint stress
In foam rolling, a muscle is gently rolled across the foam while pressure is applied. Once a tender spot is found, a steady pressure is applied to that location until pain begins to subside. To enhance the results, one can move the muscles around the tender spot (eg. for tenderness on the outside of the thigh, the user would flex and extend their leg as the pain lessens). As the pain subsides and the muscle begins to relax, the roller can be slowly moved. It’s up to the individual to determine the amount of pressure applied based on the body’s response.
Foam Rolling Guidelines:
- Hold each position for 1-2 minutes on each side, when applicable
- Once a pain point is found, stop rolling and REST on the area for 20-30 seconds, or until the pain begins to subside.
- Self-myofascial release, or foam rolling, can be performed 1-2 times per day.