Relieve Back Pain With These Foam Roller Exercises
When your back is in pain, you know it. It affects everything you do. You won't get enough sleep, you have a hard time doing the most basic daily tasks, and let's face it, you're miserable.
Maybe you've tried the creams, the patches, and the pain medications, but none of them get to the source of the pain.
Your back is filled with muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia that can easily get pulled in the wrong direction.
Whether the pain is because of a muscle pulled in your back, one of the muscles connected to your back, or strain from sitting too long, one of the best ways to relieve back pain is through massage.
Massage helps loosen and relax tight muscles, promotes circulation, and reduces stress. But if you can't afford a massage therapist regularly, you can still get all the benefits of a back massage with a foam roller.
What is a foam roller?
You may have seen them used after exercise and wonder what they are. It's an affordable piece of hard foam that you can use to release trigger points in your muscles.
Trigger points are sensitive spots connected to back and neck pain. Also called myofascial release, a foam roller is one of many ways to work out these "knots" in your muscles and soft tissue.
Foam Roller Exercises
It takes a bit of practice and time to use a foam massage roller effectively. You don't want to just jump in without learning how to use one properly. The nice thing about foam rolling is that you can use it almost anywhere you can get a little floor space.
Before you get started remember to go slowly, ease into the pain spots, and hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds.
Upper Back and Neck
Start from the top down. It'll help you remember which exercise to do next to release the trigger points causing your back pain. Your neck is sensitive, so use caution around this area.
Lay on the floor with your back flat and the roller behind your neck. Let your neck arch over the roller gently to allow a good stretch for 10 seconds. Use your legs and arms to slowly push against the roller so the roller moves under your shoulders.
let your neck arch toward the floor allowing for a light stretch and hold this position for 10 more seconds.
Keep rolling until you get to pain spots in your mid-back. Don't hold the roller on the pain spot yet. Start just above or below it and hold the roller for 10 seconds in place as you inch toward the trigger points.
Once you've done that, arch your back over the roller to get a good stretch. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds to lengthen the muscles in your back.
Lower Back/Hip Flexors
Do you sit at a desk all day? Don't forget to use a foam massage roller to ease lower back pain. As you work your way down your back, this is one place where you don't want to work your lower back directly. Instead, turn your body so your head and chest are facing toward the floor.
Use the roller on the hip flexors to start. Roll on each side using your extended legs to balance yourself.
Once you're done with your hip flexors, try a cat-cow stretch. These aren't just for yoga enthusiasts. This stretch is an incredible way to stretch the muscles in your lower back.
With your knees on the floor, place your hands in front of you, make sure your back is parallel to the floor. Arch your back up toward the ceiling to stretch your muscles. Slowly release your back toward the floor and repeat 10 times.
These are important muscles to work on if you want to reduce lower back pain. They are connected to your lower back and some back pain relates to trigger points in these muscles.
When they cramp or tighten, they pull other muscles out-of-place in your back which leads to more pain. Working out the "knots" here can help relieve pain. Roll your body slightly to the right side and hold your upper body up with your right arm extended to the floor.
Extend your legs and place the foam roller under your upper thigh. Gently roll into the gluteus muscles. Hold the roller in place for 10-20 seconds once you find the trigger point. To increase the stretch, cross your right leg up onto your left knee. Repeat for your left glutes.
Arms and Legs
Strain in other muscles affects your back muscles. So, the last areas to focus are your arms and legs.
The key is to roll along your muscles and hold the foam massage roller in the spots where it is the most sensitive. Lay on your right side with your arms and legs extended.
Place the foam roller under your right arm. Start in your armpit and roll out toward your elbow focusing on your tricep muscles. Hold the roller for 10-20 seconds when you find a trigger point. Repeat for your left arm.
For your legs, lay with your back to the ground, and start with the roller under your knees. Use your arms to push your body up so your butt hovers off the floor.
Push the roller along the hamstrings first, and then along your calf muscles. Again, stop at each trigger point and hold for 10-20 seconds. Once you're done with the back of your legs, roll over into a plank with the foam roller under your quad muscles.
Roll slowly from just above your knees to your hips. Find the sensitive spots and hold.
While foam rolling and myofascial release aren't miracle cures for back pain, they do give an incredible amount of relief for those people who experience generalised pain not caused by other medical conditions.
It stretches muscles, improves circulation, and feels great. These techniques can lead to better healing in your muscles, improve posture, and lead to less pain in the long run.
And the best part is that foam rolling provides the same benefits as a massage without the hefty price tag.
Brought to you by Your Back Pain Relief