Roll That Foam!
By Ross Ashcraft
We all have them: Tightness, chronic sore spots, dull aches, and minor consistent throbbing pain, and persistent weakness
They are the aches and pains that are as familiar to us as an old pair of slippers. We have had them for so long that we assume that they will always be there. We rub them, favor them, heat them, and pop a pill for them. The origins of these aches can come from a childhood injury, a sports activity, our work environment, and even how we sleep.
They are caused by tight fascia. Fascia is the layer of connective tissue that wraps our entire frame. It wraps all of our muscle, bone, nerve, and organs in a cocoon of uninterrupted tissue. Think of it as a giant leotard wrapping us under our skin extending from head to toe.
When this tissue gets injured it can bunch up. Then like any injury or painful area we try to protect it. Unfortunately with it all bunched up and guarded it can get distorted and not heal properly. The longer it remains unhealed that tighter it can become.
Now imagine that leotard bunched up and tight under your skin. Every time you try to move, it impedes you. Perhaps it shortens your stride or does not allow you to raise your arm above your head. After weeks or months of this behavior you have adapted to this change in your range of motion, but you have also accepted a chronic injury as “normal.”
The treatment I’d like to present is a well document and popular technique in physical therapy, massage clinics, and gyms across the planet. It is the Foam Roller. The easiest access to the Foam Roller will be at your local gym. Many sites have great prices and demos. I’ve listed a few at the end.
1. The basic technique is that you put the roller under the injured area.
2. Let your body weight sink into it for around 30 seconds
3. Roll the foam all around the entire area surrounding your injury or tightness muscle.
4. Search for that place of maximum tightness or pain. Once found pause and let your body weight sink into the foam
5. Return to rolling and continue above until you feel the area release.
Students please watch the first video and comment. I’ve listed some good videos that describe full treatments for the hips and lower back. You can skip around until you find the area that demonstrates how to “attack” your problem.
Below are a few product sites and some more self-help.