The field of exercise rehabilitation continues to grow. We know more about muscle recovery than we have ever known before. We understand how injuries happen, how to take care of them, and generally, how to prevent them.
Foam roller exercises have become huge in workout recovery and pain management. But, how does a foam roller work? What do foam rollers do exactly?
Foam rollers provide an easy way to perform self-myofascial release. Myofascial release is a technique that relaxes tension and knots in the muscles. It is an intense and deep massage that you can perform in the comfort of your own home- here’s how!
Using the Foam Roller for Neck Pain
You have probably woken up with a stiff neck before. Or perhaps had a kink in your neck you just can’t shake. Neck pain isn’t fun. It can cause problems with mobility and persist, especially when not dealt with properly.
Surprisingly, your posture may be to blame. Many hunch forward in front of a computer all day. This hunching causes the head to droop forward. This abnormal position is often referred to as forward head posture. Your neck muscles can become tight, causing pain.
Neck pain can also be caused by a variety of disorders or conditions, such as fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis. Sometimes these conditions can cause shortening of the neck muscles or muscle knots. While stretching can help relieve these problems, foam rolling takes it to the next level.
So, how do you use a foam roller for neck pain?
A smaller foam roller is preferred for the neck region. Use the smaller spiky massage ball that comes with the MavaSports foam roller.
Stand tall with the ball in between your neck and the wall. Slowly move the ball around the sides of your neck. When you find a particularly tender spot, hold the ball in that spot for 2-3 minutes.
Apply moderate pressure. It may cause slight pain, similar to a deep massage. You should feel release in the muscles afterward.
Tips for Foam Rolling Your Neck Pain:
Using the Foam Roller for Shoulder Pain
The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body. However, this leaves the shoulder unstable and prone to injury. The rotator cuff, in particular, is a common spot for strains and sore muscles.
The shoulders, also, play a huge role in maintaining our posture. Proper posture is the position where your ligaments, tendons, and muscles are under the least amount of strain.
When working at a desk all day, many have a tendency to hunch the shoulders forward and inward. However, good posture involves having the shoulders back and relaxed. While there are many exercises and stretches that can help fix this, the foam roller is an excellent addition to any shoulder rehabilitation program.
There are a variety of ways to use the foam roller for shoulder pain. If the pain is located at the back of the shoulder, lie on your side. Place the back of your shoulder on the foam roller. Roll the foam roller back and forth for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Or do a couple sets of 30-second rounds. Make sure to apply moderate pressure throughout the exercise. You should feel your muscles relax and release afterward.
Lie on your stomach to target the front of the shoulder. Position the foam roller parallel to your body. Place your affected shoulder overtop of the foam roller. Roll back and forth down part of the arm, applying moderate pressure. Do this for about the same amount of time as you would for the front of the shoulder.
Tips for Foam Rolling Your Shoulder Pain:
Using the Foam Roller for Upper Back Pain
Your upper back consists of the trapezius muscles. These muscles keep your shoulder blades down and back. They, also, assist the arms in various movements, such as pulling or rowing.
The upper back is a common spot to experience pain. Many individuals complain of annoying knots in between their shoulder blades. Knots can develop due to bad posture, weak muscles, growth spurts, overuse, or certain musculoskeletal conditions. These knots are uncomfortable and often, downright annoying!
Foam rolling the upper back can help relieve some of that painful tension. To foam roll the upper back, lie on the foam roller. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat. Cross your arms in front of you. The foam roller should be horizontal to your body and positioned at your mid-back. Slowly roll the foam roller up the back. Then roll it back to the start. Do this for 1-2 minutes or until you feel a release in the muscles.
Tips for Foam Rolling Your Upper Back Pain:
Using the Foam Roller for Hip Pain
The hips are a major attachment and origin point for many muscles, including the glutes and major upper leg muscles. It is common to experience pain in these muscles from walking or other overuse mechanisms.
In young athletes, hip pain may occur due to tightness in the IT band. This tightness is often caused by growth spurts or overuse. In older individuals, hip pain may emerge from wear and tear over time. Regular use of a foam roller can help relieve these issues and alleviate pain.
Foam rollers can also help reduce lower back issues. Many of the muscles that attach at the hips also attach to the lower parts of the spine. When these muscles become tight, back pain can occur. Low back pain can be severely debilitating. It is one of the most common reasons individuals take disability leave from work.
So, how can you prevent and relieve your tight hip muscles with a foam roller?
For the gluteal muscles, or buttocks, sit on the foam roller. Slowly roll it back and forth under the tight spots in the glutes. Apply moderate pressure. You can do this for 30 seconds to 5 minutes at a time.
For the front of the hip, also called the hip flexors, lie on your front. Gently roll the foam roller back and forth near the groin area. You may feel tightness in this spot after sitting for long periods. Again, roll back and forth here for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Apply moderate pressure throughout the exercise.
For the sides of the hips, lie on the foam roller on your side. Apply a moderate amount of pressure. Slowly roll from the hip down to the knee, and then back. This area consists of your IT band. Roll back and forth for 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
Tips for Foam Rolling Your Hip Pain:
Choose the Best Foam Roller for You and Your Life
With the MavaSports Foam Roller Kit, there is no need to pay for a pricey massage appointment every time you experience muscular pain. We provide the full package to help relieve your aches and pains.
The MavaSports Foam Roller comes with 2 exercise loops, a spiky massage ball, and 1 anti-stress ball. Target your neck, shoulder, upper back, or hip pain, all within the comfort of your own home. De-stress, unwind, and relax! Live your best life, free of pain.