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  • Writer's pictureDr. Douglas Gold

What Is Foam Rolling & How Does It Help?

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

Most people are aware of what foam rolling is at this point but for those of you that are unfamiliar…I will do my best to explain it.

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes and anyone in pursuit of pain relief and performance enhancement. The purpose is to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility. It is said to be “autogenic” because the contracting agonist is inhibited by its’ own receptors. Reduction in soft-tissue tension decreases pain, restores normal muscle length-tension relationships, and improves function.

I personally foam roll at least every other day and I spend about 20 minutes each session covering almost the entire body, but I focus on areas that are painful. Me, I personally use the foam roller on my Quads, hip rotators, and upper back. I also enjoy a sports-specific massage once in a while, many times I feel like a great session with the foam roller is just as effective as a massage, and it’s much cheaper! A typical foam roller should only cost around 40$, but I always recommend getting a higher quality foam roller that will last a long time. There are many cheap foam rollers out there. My favorite is THE GRID by….they have a half-size and a long size…if you travel frequently, I recommend the smaller version to stuff in your suitcase.

This technique can be effective for many muscles, including gastrocnemius, latissimus dorsi, piriformis, adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, the hip flexors, and thoracic spine (trapezius and rhomboids), and TFL. It is accomplished by rolling the foam roller under each muscle group until a tender area is found, and maintaining pressure on the tender area for 10-40 seconds. You are basically using your body weight.

I recommend foam rolling before stretching. I use the analogy of a knot in a rope. You need to take the knot out of a rope before you stretch it. Foam rolling is similar to removing the muscle adhesions(knots) in your muscles.

I recommend foam rolling to the majority of my patients. They always heal faster when I prescribe foam rolling exercises on a regular basis. Many gyms now carry foam rollers and there are numerous places to purchase foam rollers. If you are the type of person that likes to try to test out items before purchasing, then I recommend any sporting goods store. If you like to order things online, I recommend the following websites for foam rollers. different kinds of foam rollers) I really like THE GRID)

If you aren’t sure how to use a foam roller, you need to watch some videos online. I have a favorite website that does a great job at showing you how to foam roll. Below is the link.

If you have any specific questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.

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