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What is Foam Rolling?

In short, foam rolling is a recovery tool to help relieve muscle pain and tightness and improve mobility.

Foam rolling is a relatively easy activity, or self-massage, to help target trigger points and fascia from all different angles, to ensure faster recovery or to loosen muscles. It’s important to note that foam rolling shouldn’t actually hurt. The act of foam rolling puts pressure on a tender area of your body (think your legs and lower back), to aid in recovery helping soothe sore muscles and targeting connective tissue that surrounds important parts of your body, like bones, muscles, and joints that regularly get tight.

Fascia runs in all directions, so moving the foam roller around is key. Not just up and down and side to side, but use those angles and get creative to truly target and release those tighter muscles.

Dr. Dan in our office suggests shorter ranges of rolling motion when using the foam roller. Instead of trying to roll out your entire back, focus on the small of your back and gently roll back and forth, just a few inches at a time. It will help warm up and target the muscles and hit that sweet spot.

You can even rest the tender muscle on the foam roller by laying on top of it, allowing the constant pressure to slowly work on that muscle, not requiring any actual “rolling” motion at all. Sometimes that extra pressure is all your muscles need or can handle.


What Are the Benefits of Foam Rolling?

Where to begin? There are so many benefits to foam rolling such as promoting short-term increases in the range of motion and increasing muscle flexibility.

One of the greatest benefits of foam rolling is increased mobility – think lower back. It loosens up tight muscles in an effective way and helps your overall range of motion. It’s also a tremendous help with soreness after a long car ride, travel day, or hard workout.

Try this simple technique to relieve tension in your neck: Lie on your back your head/neck on top of the foam roller so you feel a little amount of pressure on your neck. Slowly turn your head to the side, or angled to the side and down (pointing your chin down towards your shoulder). Hold this position up to 60 seconds, remembering to breathe. Do not do this to the point of pain; it should be gentle with a little pressure.


When Should You Foam Roll?

Like most things, this is different for everyone. Foam rolling is great as part of your workout warm-up because it literally warms up and loosens the muscles you’re about to use. Use a foam roller 3-5 minutes before your workout, which will also help your range of motion, i.e. moving faster and protecting your body from injury during the workout.

Have you noticed you can pick up a sprint with more ease after you’ve been moving around as opposed to attempting to do it from a dead standstill? Foam rolling is much the same, loosening up those muscles allowing you to have a more effective and safe workout.

Remember, foam rolling shouldn’t hurt, and like most things, you should listen to your body. If it’s screaming in pain, you are either using too much pressure or perhaps there is an underlying problem that needs a physician’s attention.

By working with our Littleton chiropractors, they can help you create a customized foam rolling plan, specific to your body’s needs. For instance, if you suffer from knee pain, there are specific foam rolling techniques and muscle groups you should be targeting. Our medical team will ensure you aren’t wasting your time or your money when it comes to foam rolling without a cause.

If you’re not sure if foam rolling is right for you, or the proper technique for a given muscle group, call our Littleton chiropractic office to schedule an appointment. Before you start foam rolling heavily, it’s important to get an extensive physical exam to ensure there aren’t any underlying issues that should be treated. Our goal at Ultimate Health Medical Clinic is to help you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, without drugs or surgery. Sometimes a simple adjustment can do wonders for the pain you are feeling or help to loosen up back muscles.

Here are a few other helpful articles and research studies when it comes to foam rolling here and here.

Did you know we sell foam rollers in our office? Our doctors are happy to demonstrate proper foam rolling techniques to ensure you are getting the most out of it. Call our office to order one or ask the front desk at your next Littleton chiropractor appointment.

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Our Chiropractic office in Littleton is a first-rate medical team that has been serving the Littleton community for more than 20 years. Call us at 303.904.0331 to schedule an appointment, a free consultation, or with any questions.

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