When you decide to stay fit and gym-ready, it's important to recover your muscles for every next day. You need to take recovery as seriously as you take regular cardio. Here, we are not talking about a calf stretch, warm-ups, or cooldowns, but the use of a foam roller.
Other than relaxing your muscles after exercising, a foam roller helps with flexibility improvement, reduction of joints pain, and improved circulation. Therefore, try to invest in a foam roller because it's not readily available at the gym. Luckily, you can get a foam roller at very reasonable prices that help you get the benefits.
What is a Foam Roller?
The equipment is used for applying a self-myofascial release technique, which helps relieve muscle tightness, inflammation, and soreness. It also helps increase the joints' range of motion.
By using a foam roller, which is an effective tool to add to your warm-up exercises and cooldowns, you can reduce sciatica, body, and muscle pain. However, the benefits it provides may vary from person to person.
Benefits of Using a Foam Roller for Back Pain
If you are facing problems like chronic muscle tension, low back pain, or sciatica, you can manage the symptoms by making changes in lifestyle and holistic approaches.
One of the best ways to alleviate these uncomfortable, painful conditions is to use a foam roller to reduce the soreness and tightness in the muscles.
Foam rolling is also considered a self-massaging practice, which you can do at any time that suits you best. Besides this, it is counted as a recommended technique for physical activity in warm-up and cooldown exercises.
Foam rolling is useful right after you notice muscles tightness that might need a light massage to recover. It's also useful for your pre or post-workout routine, specifically when you decide to do upper body exercises.
Keep on reading to learn why this is essential and how often you can practice this gentle-at-home therapy.
How Often to Use a Foam Roller - Can You Foam Roll Every Day?
If you suffer from constant pain in your back or face sciatica, using it daily for at least 10 to 15 minutes might help. Daily foam rolling after you are done with your evening workout can help you improve muscle strength, reduce soreness, and regulate the nervous system to help you relax and sleep.
Why You Shouldn't Foam Roll Directly on Lower Back
It is not recommended to use foam rolling for your lower back, as it can be very painful. Not only painful, but it can also mess with the joints, causing extra back pain. Why does this happen? It is because the rolling creates an extension force throughout your spine. Those who have no issues with their back and have an aligned spine, it might be uncomfortable for them the first few times.
Will a Foam Roller Help Sciatica or Lower Back Pain?
Sciatica often comes with muscles stiffness that causes extreme pain and makes it difficult for a patient to carry out normal activities. Using a foam roller to treat or manage sciatica pain is a great tool, which gradually might also heal a back pain.
The best part is that it's a low-cost tool that you can use for your comfort, and you don't need to go anywhere or pay high fees. Foam rolling is a technique that involves a method of rolling up, down, or holding onto a sustained pressure. The foam roller is designed according to the muscle group, which includes muscles like the butt, hamstrings, calves, and lower back muscles. A foam roller acts as a great treatment tool when combined with home remedies for sciatica, body, and muscle pain.
5 Best Foam Rolling Exercises for Back
You know those workouts that leave you in pain or feeling like you cannot walk? When you feel tightness in your muscles, using one of the best foam rollers can help.
Foam rolling is among the easiest and most popular methods to self-massage the muscles and help reduce the pain that's the result of intense exercise or other medical conditions. It improves the flexibility of the joints and reduces the risk of injuries as well.
#1) Upper Body Foam Rolling Exercises
These exercises can help reduce pain from your upper body and lower back. It self-massages the fascia, which is a great way to alleviate pain from the neck and back. Not just that, it also energizes the muscles to improve poor posture.
You can build an upper body routine that involves different exercises for upper back, lower back and chest. Here is how to use foam roller for upper back:
• Lie down on a steady surface with the roller across your upper back
• Keep your hands crossed over your chest or on the ground by your sides
• Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground
• Straighten your legs to push away, rolling down the foam roller beneath your mid-back
• Keep your neck in a straight line with your spine
• Pull back so the foam roller rolls back beneath your upper back
#2) Lower Body Foam Rolling Exercises
Know that your lower body has lots of fascia, so foam rolling is one of the best ways to prevent an injury while you're working out. You might find lower back or body exercises with foam rolling helpful for relieving pain in the back and legs. It also helps reduce pain caused due to sciatica and sitting down at a desk for a big part of your day. So if you work a desk job from 9 to 5, then you definitely need a foam roller.
Lower body foam rolling exercise routine can involve shins, calves, abductors, glutes and hamstrings. Here is how to work out your hamstrings for pain relief.
• Sit down on the floor with your legs straight
• Keep the foam roller under the top part of your hamstrings
• Place your hands about 2 feet behind your buttocks
• Make sure that your chest forms a 45 degree angle from the floor
• Pull your body backwards towards your hands
• The foam roller should roll down along your hamstrings to the back of your knees
• Push your body away from the hands
• The foam roller should roll back from the knees to the buttocks
#3) Hip Flexors Foam Rolling Exercises
Sitting for a longer time period might cause pain in hip flexors. While stretching them is a good option, foam rolling helps even more and works better because it helps loosening the tight muscles.
You can perform a hip flexor exercise like:
• Lie down on the floor facing downwards
• Place the foam roller beneath the top of your legs
• Keep your legs straight and life the right foot off the floor
• Use your forearms to rest and reposition your hands in front of you if needed
• Press your left hip against the roller by leaning away from the right
• Press on your forearms or hands to roll your left leg up and down on the foam roller
• The foam roller should roll from the top of your left hip towards your left mid-quad
• Repeat on the other side
#4) Spinal Alignment Foam Rolling Exercises
The exercise for spine alignment using a foam roller loosens knots in the muscles and relieves tightness and tension. Using foam rolling helps you improve body posture.
This simple exercise can prove beneficial for spinal alignment and excellent posture:
• Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and feet firmly pressed against the floor
• Place the foam roller in a horizontal position beneath your upper back
• Position your hands at the base of your skull, interlacing fingers
• Roll the foam roller towards your shoulders by raising your hips slightly
• Take it slow and focus the roller on sensitive areas for at least 20 seconds
• Move the roller from the shoulders back to your mid-back
#5. Side of the Back Foam Rolling Exercises
Stretching might help, but using a foam roller to get relief from pain at the sides, like below the underarms, offers much better results. This helps improve posture and mobility of your upper body.
You can involve your lats in a rolling exercise:
• Lie down on the floor on the right side
• Place the foam roller under your shoulder
• Use your right leg for support by placing it slightly bent on the floor
• Firmly press your left foot flat on the floor
• Roll down the foam roller from below your armpit towards the mid-back
• Pause for a few seconds on sensitive areas
• Continue for a minute and then repeat on the other side