Hi everyone! 

I’m Sophie, a sports massage therapist/sports therapist at Backworks. 

Despite being on lockdown, and unable to physically treat our patients, we are still here to help you!

With everyone confined to their homes, we are all exploring different tips and tricks to get rid of those sore muscles and aches we may be experiencing after exercise or sitting at a desk for too long. 

I have included two videos on how to use a foam roller, however here is a bit of information on the background of foam rolling and where it fits into our muscle health. 

Foam rolling has become very popular over the years. The evidence base around the utilisation of foam rolling is constantly expanding, although there is strong research out there that supports it. 

Regular exercise, repeated movements and increased load can result in microtrauma, which is a small amount of damage to the muscle. The resulting inflammatory response may lead to fascia scar tissue over time, which in turn may lead to muscular dysfunction. Common causes for this response include physical trauma, overuse, and structural imbalances which lead to decreased performance and pain. 

We can use our body weight on a myofascial foam roller to exert pressure on the opposing soft tissues. By varying our body positions, we can use the rollers to isolate specific areas of the body and treat restrictions within the soft tissue. Foam rolling may help to restore muscle length-tension relationships, allow for a better warm-up and can help to prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Which foam roller should I use? 

When performing foam rolling expect some level of discomfort, so it is important to find a foam roller that suits your level of tolerance. 

A smooth roller is less invasive than a bobbly one (which is shown in my video). A longer one is good for bigger muscle groups and a smaller one or a ball is good to get into specific spots or smaller muscle groups. 

How to use a foam roller? 

In my video, you will be able to see my body position clearly enough to follow. It may feel and look a little awkward at first. Make sure you have a soft surface underneath you such as a yoga mat, rug or carpet. 

When you find a sensitive spot hold for no more than 20 seconds, this can be repeated 5-8 times. This helps the muscles to relax and aids in releasing its spasm. 

Should I use a foam roller? 

As stated previously foam rolling is great to use pre and post-workout to prevent imbalances and overuse injuries. There are however a few situations when you should not use a foam roller: 

· Over an injury you have sustained in the last 72 hours 

· If you are suffering from any spinal issues 

· Directly over any form of swelling 

· Over any tumour or cancer-affected region 

· If you have any open wounds in the area 

· If you have a complete rupture of a tendon, ligament or muscle in the area 

· If there are varicose veins in the area 

Remember you are using a foam roller to aid the muscle recovery, do not roll directly over a joint or bony area and remember you are using your own body weight as pressure. 

I have put together two videos, an upper and lower-body foam roller instructional video, demonstrating foam rolling (self-myofascial release) on different muscle groups. This will help with any pains and niggles until you see your practitioner again. It can be used before and after exercise, and alongside stretching. 

If you have any questions, doubts or hesitations please do not hesitate to contact us on 01702 342329, email us on backworkssouthend@gmail.com or message us. 

References 

Gregory E. P. Pearcey, MSc*; David J. Bradbury-Squires, MSc*; Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc*; Eric J. Drinkwater, PhD*†; David G. Behm, PhD*; Duane C. Button, PhD* 

*School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada; †School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia 

Journal of Athletic Training 2015;50(1):5–13 doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01 Ó by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Inc www.natajournals.org original research 

The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance 

Healey, Kellie C.1; Hatfield, Disa L.1; Blanpied, Peter2; Dorfman, Leah R.1; Riebe, Deborah1Author Information 

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2014 – Volume 28 – Issue 1 – p 61-68 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182956569