Foam Rolling for Myofascial Release: Does it Really Work?
Foam rollers appear to be everywhere, from gyms and athlete’s homes to the shelves of your local big box store. “Rolling out” using a foam roller has become extremely popular in the fitness world because it is believed to help loosen and ease sore muscles before and after a workout. But is there merit to this claim? What does a foam roller actually do?
At Strong Life Chiropractic in Lithia, FL, we believe foam rollers can help patients suffering from muscular pain to perform self-myofascial release on their own, but only if it is done properly. Without a solid understanding of your body’s fascia and what it does, it’s nearly impossible to accurately target pain points and put foam rollers to good use.
Understanding fascia and myofascial release
Many people think foam rollers are useful for lengthening and removing knots from our muscles, but this is not technically true. What foam rollers actually aim to do is release tension in the fascia.
The fascia is a connective tissue that spreads throughout your entire body. Fascia surrounds every bone, organ, nerve, and muscle in your body like a web, contributing to the stability of your musculoskeletal system. Although the tissue is typically relaxed and pliable, it is largely composed of collagen, making it extremely strong.
Injury, bodily misalignment, inflammation, overuse, and other issues may cause the fascia to restrict, resulting in the fascia putting pressure on your joints and muscles, limiting movement and causing pain.
Over time, adhesions or “trigger points” may begin to form within the fascia. These trigger points may cause severe pain and pressure on the body in specific areas. This is called myofascial pain syndrome.
In order to restore movement to the restricted muscles, the fascia must be released through myofascial release therapy. This therapy is typically performed by a chiropractor or physical therapist and involves stretching and applying gentle pressure to the painful areas to loosen the fascia and relieve tension.
How foam rollers help release myofascial pain
Rather than having a chiropractor perform myofascial therapy on you, using a foam roller may allow you to treat myofascial pain at home or at the gym. This is why it is called self-myofascial release.
A foam roller is a thick cylinder made of hard foam that is used to apply pressure to specific parts of the body. You use your own body weight to press into the roller and attempt to relieve tension.
Foam rollers may help stretch and loosen restricted fascia so the muscles and joints under them can move freely without pain. However, you need to use a foam roller the right way for it to be effective.
You should never roll directly on the area of pain, as this pressure may cause more pain and create more inflammation and tension. Focus on rolling out the surrounding areas of the painful section, as these are likely pulling on the painful area and can be released more easily.
As you roll, be deliberate with your actions and be sure to spend enough time in each painful section to thoroughly roll out the fascia – just take care to not overdo it.
Rely on the experts for the most effective treatment
Rolling out your fascia on a foam roller may help relieve some of your tension, but there is only so much a foam roller and body weight can do. If you suffer from severe myofascial pain, visit a chiropractor to get an examination and receive treatment from a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) certified professional.
The chiropractors at Strong Life Chiropractic may be able to help patients in Lithia, FL with myofascial pain through gentle massaging of trigger points and guided stretches. Visit us today to see if our techniques will work for you.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.