What is it?
A foam roller is essentially just dense foam cylinder. It allows people to do self-massage and stretching exercises without the help of a practitioner. Most often you place the roller under an area you want to release such as the calf muscles then using your own bodyweight for force you use a rolling motion back and worth to get a massaging effect.
How does it work?
Foam rollers are used to reduce muscle and connective tissue pain as well as increase joint flexibility. There is still debate as to the exact therapeutic mechanisms. One widely accepted theory is that when rolling you send messages to your central nervous system which then responds by sending signals back to your muscles to relax. There can also be an increase in blood flow which helps tissue health.
When should you use one?
Foam rolling is most often used after exercise to help prevent delayed muscle onset soreness (DOMS) or before exercise as a warm-up. Practitioners may prescribe foam rolling to certain area of the body to help release muscle pain or to increase range of motion in an area such as the upper back.
Is it safe?
When used correctly foam rollers are considered quite safe. If you are using one to rehabilitate or treat an injury then you should consult a practitioner first. For example, if there is a tear in a muscle then foam rolling is going to irritate the tissues and delay healing.
Using a foam roller is usually only one small part of a larger management plan. If you are experiencing pain or have an injury we can help. If you require assistance or have musculoskeletal pain and are wondering if an Osteopath can help you, give us a call at Berwick Family Osteopathy and Spinal Clinic on (03) 9702 0094, or make an appointment online.
We can’t wait to see you in the clinic and help you with your health.
Photo credit by Anna Shvets: Pexels
Blog written by Samuel Wilmann – Registered Osteopath
Berwick Family Osteopathy and Spinal