The foam roller: an ally we love to hate!

The foam roller is a long cylinder of dense foam (it also exists as a half-cylinder). It’s a tool that we use regularly at the clinic and it’s gaining in popularity among athletes, not only because it is very effective, but also because the exercises we do with it are easy and simple to execute. Furthermore, you can see results quickly. If you go to sports centers, sporting goods stores or one of our clinics, you have probably already seen them.

Frankly, for most people, the foam roller technique is not gentle, but believe me, it's worth it! It can be used in several ways. We use it mainly for myofascial release and flexibility, the fascia being the envelope of the muscles. A fascia with adhesions will have a direct effect on muscle flexibility, pain, posture and mobility. The foam roller technique will allow myofascial stretching and increase blood flow in the desired area, allowing the muscle to relax.

The technique is simple: place the roller on the muscle that is painful, tense or has little flexibility... and roll. It is advised to roll slowly and to have a good control of the movement along the muscle, from its origin to its attachment, paying a special attention to the most sensitive areas. This will be a painful moment, but oh so beneficial! The results are often visible instantly. You can also keep pressure on a sore point in order to release it. The roller can be used more or less all over: on quadriceps, calves, lumbar spine, hip flexors, IT band, etc.

The roller can also be used for lumbar stabilization and mobility exercises, as well as for strengthening. In addition, this famous roller will help you prevent injuries by having healthy muscles.

Most of our clinics sell rollers and they are also increasingly found in sporting goods stores and some big box stores. So there’s no reason to do without it. However, keep in mind they can never replace your favorite therapist!

Before using a foam roller, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, especially if you have injuries.

1, 2, 3, let’s roll!

 

Maryse Filion
physical rehabilitation and massage therapist