Here at Better Chiropractic, we’re all about empowering our patients to take care of their own health. We do this by teaching them how to Live Better through stretches and exercise. One concept we teach regularly to our patients is the importance and benefit of foam rolling—more appropriately called Self-Myofascial Release (SMR). SMR is an excellent way to improve muscle function and thereby your performance and range of motion. SMR does this by “turning off” or “resetting” muscles by releasing adhesions and trigger points. Sadly, many people don’t understand exactly the proper way to use a foam roller.
Just as it’s important to follow the appropriate steps when using any tool—from something as simple as a saw to as complicated as a car—it’s imperative that someone use their foam roller correctly. We see far too many people that don’t. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when foam rolling:
- First, take it slow. Use the foam roller to ‘scan’ a muscle carefully for tender points rather than “beat it up” by rolling back and forth haphazardly.
- Second, pause over the tender points you find, don’t just roll over them. We recommend you hold position for 5 breaths.
- Finally, use the correct tool. You can use more than just a foam roller for SMR. Things such as lacrosse balls and massage rods can get to certain spots better than a foam roller can.
Research has shown that SMR can be effective at improving range of motion, preventing injury, and reducing pain. In fact, it’s apparently better at accomplishing those things than typical static and dynamic stretching. This makes it a great candidate for adding to a daily routine and improving your quality of life. Please, feel free to reach out and ask us more about tips about how to Live Better, and don’t forget to come in and get adjusted so you can Feel Better, too!