A foam roller is a large cylindrical tool made of dense foam. While it may look unusual, foam rolling can be an effective way to massage your muscles and deep tissue. It can especially be helpful in relieving tension at the end of workout sessions. If you’re looking for a new way to improve your quality of life and reduce chronic pain, foam rolling may be for you.
How does foam rolling work?
If you’ve heard about foam rolling before, you may still not know exactly how it works. You may also have heard that foam rolling works by breaking up knots in muscle tissue. However, that’s not exactly true.
What foam rolling actually does is stimulate the nerves in the area you’re working on. The pressure from the roller causes the local nerves to signal your brain that the tissue you’re rolling over is ready to relax. Your brain responds to these signals by sending relaxation signals back to the soft tissue in the targeted area.
4 benefits of foam rolling
Foam rolling is now a popular form of self-manual therapy; you can find foam rollers in major online and in-person stores. While it’s most widely used pre- and post-workout, you can reap the benefits of foam rolling even without a workout routine. The following benefits of foam rolling can help you jump-start your recovery from injury or help you ease chronic pain at the beginning or end of each day:
Foam rolling is versatile.
Different kinds of foam rollers can help your body according to your needs. For example, textured foam rollers have protruding ridges, which dig deep into tissue with every roll. Smooth foam rollers, on the other hand, provide a more gentle pressure. In addition, foam rollers come in different sizes so that you can specifically target tender and painful areas.
Foam rolling can loosen tight muscles.
Tight muscles in your back, shoulders, or neck can be painful and limit your daily activities. One of the main goals of foam rolling is to loosen tight muscles and improve blood flow to the surrounding tissue. Foam rollers can gently massage and target pressure points, releasing tension after a few rolls. A study found that foam rolling activated muscles and reduced muscle soreness after intense physical activity.
Foam rolling can increase mobility.
Tight muscles and tendons can inflame and stiffen your joints. When a foam roller prompts the body to release tension in your muscles, these muscles no longer pull so tightly on surrounding joints. Your joints’ range of motion can therefore improve. You may also feel more comfortable deepening your stretches and further increasing your joints’ flexibility. In other words, foam rollers can allow your muscles and joints to work together better. In fact, a study found that foam rolling increased patients’ hip flexibility over time.
Foam rolling can improve circulation.
Tense soft tissue can squeeze blood vessels, veins, etc. that run through it. The result is decreased circulation to the tense area, and the reduced circulation can lead to other issues like longer workout recovery times and increases in pain. By prompting relaxation in the targeted soft tissue, foam rolling helps reduce the restriction to your blood flow as well. The improved flow can help get more oxygen and nutrients to the area, which can lead to faster tissue recovery and reduced pain.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for painful muscles
Foam rolling can help ease your pain and stiffness after a workout, and it can even help people address tension and pain triggered by a chronic issue like arthritis. Yet foam rolling alone may not be enough to fully address your pain. For that, you may need to seek help from a physical therapist.
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need.
Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address tense, painful muscles caused by many injuries and chronic conditions.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition