Foam Rolling Fun-damentals

By: Karl Zarse, MD

Foam rollers have gained massive popularity over the past ten years and with good reason. They are one of the most effective deep tissue tools available. Getting a massage is great, but the cost and inconvenience of scheduling one makes the foam roller a great option.

Active people often have areas of spasm in our back, hips, and legs that causes pain and limited movement. Deep tissue massage helps by releasing that spasm and getting blood flow to the area to promote healing and elimination of pain.

Here’s how to use the foam roller for lower back pain and tightness. 

Start by laying on the floor and positioning the foam roller over the area that hurts. 

Next, start to roll back and forth over the affected area, so you are spanning from normal muscle, spasm, then normal muscle. 

As you roll back and forth you can also stop and put direct pressure over the spasm, and then resume rolling. 

Do not worry if you hear a crunching noise. Keep going until the crunching and spasm goes away. 

Finish with some gentle stretches of the affected muscle.

I would go an internet search of all the various foam rolling techniques. There are a ton, and you can devise your own personal therapy program that is specific to you.

Taking a hot shower or going in a hot tub will make your foam rolling much more effective. Starting out cold can make it uncomfortable and will take you longer to get the result you want.

This is also great to use along with your inversion table, TENS unit, and Thera cane. You will get your best results if you use all these devices on a regular basis, and tailor your routine to your specific therapy needs.

Being a lifelong athlete takes work, but the benefits are worth going the distance for.


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