What Does a Foam Roller Help With?

Foam rolling is nothing new, but not until recently has it become an item just about anywhere muscles are involved. You see them anyplace sports equipment is sold along with gyms, physical therapy clinics, and living room floors. Everyone from runners to office workers have caught on and realize a foam roller can help recover stressed muscles fast.

We’ve all seen the fads come and go, but there’s no getting around the fact that foam rollers really work. They come in several different styles, and even the best foam rollers are inexpensive. Use them on virtually every muscle on your body from the soles of your feet all the way up to your shoulders.

And the thing is, you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from them. Rolling out the stress after a long day of slumping over a computer desk will help correct your posture and dismiss the aches. No matter who you are or what you do, foam rolling just works for getting out the knots and making you feel good.

Runners, athletes, sports and gym enthusiast consider them tools of the trade. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at what foam rollers do and how they help with muscle relaxation.

Any foam roller is a great addition to your routine. It is an ideal tool used by anyone who does anything that leads to sore muscles or stiffness. They release tension in the muscles along with stimulating blood flow. This enhances pain relief, soreness, and speeds healing and recovery time.

man with sore muscles
Foam rollers help relieve pain and sore muscles

You can use a foam roller on almost any muscle that gets sore from overuse or lack of use. You can even foam roll the bottoms of your feet for a great foot massage. Athletes of every sort use them on legs and gluts. Probably the most use they get is on peoples sore backs, but they are great on any overworked, stiff, or strained muscle area.

Generally, the benefits of foam rolling include myofascial release, increased range of motion and flexibility that leads to better posture. There’s nothing like it when it comes to recovering from a workout or any type of exercise or physical activity.

Foam rolling is simple, but it may take some time to learn to do it correctly and enjoy all the benefits. There are multitudes of online videos describing the best techniques along with the ones that come with many rollers.

What foam rollers do best is to release painful knots and tense muscles. Sore muscles usually have trigger points which are small knots of muscle and nerve fibers. Rolling, or massaging, those trigger points and surrounding areas relaxes them and allows the muscles to relax.

woman using foam roller on hamstrings
Foam Rollers massage muscles and trigger points for relaxation and pain relief

For rolling your back and shoulders, just place the roller under your back and slowly roll your back by moving your body over it. One common mistake people make is to locate a trigger point and focus all their efforts on that one spot. Instead, it’s best to massage the entire area so release the tightness in all the connective muscles. Muscles and fascial tissue will gradually release and relax which leads relief from painful and aching muscles.

Foam rollers come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some are smooth and others may have ribs, knobs, or spikes on them. Some users believe ribs, knobs, and spikes can better pinpoint and dig deeper into muscle to activate the trigger points. Others claim the smooth surface works best for them. I like the smooth surface foam better on my shoulders and back, personally.

If your primary problem is your back, I would opt for the longer rollers that goes all the way across. Wider is usually better than not enough to reach the entire area. If it’s too narrow, you won’t be able to use it properly and not get the help from it that you want.

Whether you are using a foam roller for calves, thighs, back, shoulders, feet, or arms, the results are great and undeniable. You will find that regular foam rolling can help both before and after a workout or at the end of a long day.

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