If you haven’t yet experienced the benefits of foam rolling for yourself, maybe now is the time!
Add this easy to use, affordable tool into your self care toolkit and let it help you improve your range of motion, alleviate muscle tension and even assist with postural imbalance from increased overuse of muscles in poor ergonomic positions (hello using laptop on actual lap).
Forward head posture, rounded forward shoulders, slouchy mid/upper back, hyper flexed hips, impingement at hip/knee – the list goes on from the new ergonomics of working at home or just poor ergonomics at work!
This simple tool can offer relatively quick and simple, effective relief for many areas of discomfort. Check out this link for some quick easy visuals for common foam rolling areas.
Foam rolling can even be a tool in helping us with our relaxation goals, taking 10 minute mindfulness breaks, diaphragmatic breathing and passive opening through our bodies. Have a yoga bolster? Try using that instead for this part!
Try this exercise: Lie lengthwise on your roller (use a foam yoga block or rolled towel for head support if you have a short roller, add a folded towel over the roller if you find it too firm on your spine). The roller should ideally go from head to tailbone. Knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip width apart for support. Allow yourself to fully sink in, and relax your body on the roller. Open your arms out and rest them at whatever angle the back of your hands can touch and rest. Try moving to your arms to various angles and relaxing into the stretch through the upper chest and front of shoulders. Take the time to relax into new positions. Then try placing one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest and rest them here, feeling the diaphragm expand and the chest rise with each deep breath. Sink in.
A couple of quick tips:
- Use a simple, dense foam roller to start. Avoid the rollers with the hard hollow inserts or firm bumps all on the outside, these can simply be too aggressive for the body, especially for beginners.
- While short rollers can work, a long roller gives the option for lying on fully from back of head to tailbone without the use of additional supports. If however, you do have a short roller, have a rolled up bath towel or yoga block on standby for head support 🙂
- For side body or IT band/lateral quad/hamstring rolling, have the other leg bent and foot on floor for support and leverage so not too much pressure is put on the side being rolled until you can tolerate more!
- Foam rolling isn’t just about rolling! Using the roller in a passive, still manner can be useful for expending through the chest, diaphragm and abdomen, and even in releasing through back of the neck/base of skull muscles using a gentle massage lying our neck/head over the roller, pressure along the base of skull and rotating our head slowly side to side.
- For smaller areas or more point specific areas, try a trigger point ball, or a lacrosse ball. These work well for applying point specific pressure to alleviate trigger points or small areas of tension and work well for feet and glutes!
As always, connect with your health care professional for specific exercises that meet your treatment plan goals!