Article by Rylie Teeter, CEO
Foam rolling and myofascial release is all the rage, and for good reason. However, it’s not just for athletes that want better performance – yes it can improve your game, but the benefit for the muscles and fascia can be a game changer for just about anyone.
I personally use a roller because I can see an immediate impact on my muscle tension. As a desk jockey, my body can stay in a static position for hours, and muscles respond with tightness and aching. The daily aches can compound into chronic aches, so keeping muscles and fascia healthy is a big part of preventing and targeting back and neck pain.
First, let’s start with an explanation of fascia because it’s something that most people have never heard of – I certainly don’t remember it from biology class, but turns out it plays a big role in the overall function of the body.
Fascia “is a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue that envelopes, separate, or binds together muscles, organs and other soft tissue of the body”1. Sounds important, right? The best explanation I have heard is a comparison to a spider web. When it is it intact and healthy it works beautifully, but if a section gets damaged then the rest of the web is impacted. Damage in one location can add more stress to an entirely different section – meaning pain, tension, compression on nerves, and changes in mobility can have a root cause in a totally different part of the body than where they are felt.2
Enter self-myofascial release, a method of breaking up adhesions and releasing tension to help restore fascia health. The most popular methods use a foam roller or other self-massage device that can apply a firm rolling pressure (Teeter T3, Teeter Massage Foam Roller, Teeter Foam Roller, Teeter Massage Ball).
This self-massage technique is said to help:
Break up knots and releases trigger points
Improve movement and flexibility
Improve muscle function
Enhance circulation by breaking up the tight areas where blood flow may become restricted
Reduce exercise-related soreness
The downside of all these great benefits? Foam rolling can be painful. In fact, the trick is to roll until you find the tight painful knot or trigger point, and then literally roll it out. Don’t worry, while the first few rolls can make you teary-eyed, the area will relax and it won’t take long for you to feel a nice release.
Ready to give it a try? Watch my video to see a few of my favorite techniques. However, spend some time and do a little research to see what moves will help you the most. As said above, due to kinetic chain, the pain you feel could be caused by an imbalance in another location. For example, for lower back pain, try rolling psoas muscle in the front of your groin.
- “Fascia.” (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). November 24. 2015.
- “How to Alleviate Muscle and Joint Pain with Self Myo-fascial Release.” Justin Price. April 14, 2016.
- “The BioMechanics Method Corrective Exercise Educational Program.” J. Price. 2010.
- “The Amazing Tennis Ball Back Pain Cure.” J. Price. 2013.
- “Foam Rolling – Applying the Technique of Self-Myofascial Release.” S. Penney. April 10, 2015.
Recommended reading: Top 3 Foam Roller Stretches for Back Pain Relief