Uncovering The Truth About Foam Roller Massages For Pain Relief

Foam rollers are thought of as tools for recovery and performance aids in the fitness world. However, they function just as well for people who couldn’t give a hang about fitness. Both groups know they are amazing when it comes to pain relief and soothing sore and aching muscles. In a nutshell, they do what a good masseuse does. The best foam rollers provide deep tissue muscle massages to stimulate blood flow and release knotted up muscles.

Foam rollers are affordable and provide effective pain relief along with other surprising benefits that help with:

  • Back, neck, and shoulder aches and pain
  • Relieve stiffness from sitting a desk all-day
  • Increase flexibility and range of motion
  • Speed recovery time from workouts and exercise
  • Help you sleep 
  • Reduces inflammation in muscle tissue

Foam Rollers Roll Away Aches and Pains

I know it’s easy to wonder if they actually provide any relief or not, but in fact, they do. Used before or after a workout, or just for aching muscles, the results are real. Foam rolling can go deep into muscle tissue releasing pressure, soreness, increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation as well as a professional masseur or masseuse.

The idea is to be able to give yourself a deep muscle massage. They are great before or after a workout, or anytime you could use a targeted massage.  In fact, if you sit at a desk all day at work you will love what they can do for sore back and shoulder muscles. Foam rollers work to release tension, knots, soothe sore muscles, increase circulation, and warm the area. Exercise tries to shorten muscles and massaging them has the opposite effect of elongating them. 

They are often referred to as massage rollers because of this. These rollers can aid in decreasing muscle stiffness and in turn increase range of motion. People with arthritis in knees and hips often have as much muscle pain like joint pain, and love them.

3 different styles of foam rollers for muscle pain and recovery
Foam rollers come in a wide variety of sizes and styles

You may have seen them around and either wasn’t sure exactly what they were, or if they really work. I’m here to testify that they do work, and with surprising results. There is a large variety of styles and sizes on the market. Different shapes and sizes can have different purposes and target different areas. 

They come in a lot of sizes, some longer for targeting back muscles, and some shorter for legs and thighs. Along with the length they are also available in different diameters to make them more convenient to use for different areas of the body. Some have knobs, some are smooth, and others have ridges that go the entire length of the device.

Some rollers are really hard with a layer of foam on the outside. Others are made from very dense foam from the inside out. Some have built-in “knobs” to actually target trigger points in the muscles much as an acupuncturist would target. The knobs help to release knots that build up in the muscles and cause pain and soreness.

How To Use A Foam Roller?

Using foam rollers is simple enough, but it takes a little practice to work out some places on your body. You just place the “roller” underneath a particular area or muscle like back, calves, thighs, and so on and roll away. You can place it on the floor and lie down on it, or sometimes against a wall and press the area against it. 

Start out by finding a place that you can lie down on the floor and get your body on top of the roller. It uses your body weight to create pressure for the massage that releases the knots and tight spots in muscles and fascia tissue.

Buttocks and Hamstrings

If you are working on the buttocks and hamstrings, just sit on the roller with your butt on top of it. Now simply roll back and forth and try to slide a little side to side. You will feel tight spots and tension in those muscles release as you gently roll it out. Now let it roll down your legs to your knees or knee, depending on the style of the roller. Keep rolling both legs until you have worked from your butt all the way to your knees thoroughly. Next, do the same thing with your calves.

Quads and Back

When you work the quads with a foam roller, just lay on top of the roller face down. Use your hands to balance yourself as you roll out the front part of the thigh from the hip. You should see now, that to foam roll your back, lie on your back with the roller between yourself and the floor. I like to start at my neck and gently roll down towards my waist. When you first start rolling it will seem difficult, but after a few times, you get the hang of it.

The thing is this — foam rollers really work when it comes to pain relief. But, please remember, they are for common muscle aches and soreness. They are not meant to be a substitute for a physician when pain is severe. 

Summary

They are a great way to address back pain. Of course, they aren’t considered a permanent solution to back problems, but foam rolling can certainly help provide relief from pain and common backaches. I’ve found one of the best ways to relieve backaches from sitting at a computer is a roller massage every afternoon. It seems like the powerful results accumulate day after day.

Chronic pain could be coming from medical issues that should be addressed. Sometimes things like poor posture, or decaying bones or joints can be the problem, and that’s what doctors are for. Ask your physician about foam rolling, and you might be surprised to hear him recommend them to work alongside other treatments.

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