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Foam Rollers: How can they help me?

Foam-rolling has been around for awhile but has gained popularity.  We recommend foam-rolling for a lot of our patients.  It is a great way to work out tightness in the muscles and fascia (connective tissue around the muscles.

foam roller from Complete Chiropractic - AllentownFoam Rollers: What Are They and How Can They Help Me?

As foam rollers are becoming more popular among athletes, in gyms and in rehabilitation centers, many people are asking what are these things and how do I use it?

A foam roller is a hard foam log which is usually 6 inches in diameter.  You can get different lengths of foam rollers depending on your needs.  They are used for working out tight muscles and “knots” you may have in your muscles by applying direct pressure on the area.  Foam rollers are an easier and cheap way to prevent and treat you muscle soreness at home.

Foam rollers are commonly used on the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves but any muscle group be worked on using a foam roller.  It can also be used to improve range of motion.  Typically when you first start using your foam roller, the areas with the tight muscles will be very sore, but as you work out the knots in the muscle the area should become less sore.

Some tips for using your foam roller:

  • Check with your chiropractor before beginning to use a foam roller
  • Position the roller under the area you want to work and gently roll back and forth across the roller
  • If you find a particularly painful spot, hold that position for 30 seconds or until the area softens
  • When first starting to use a foam roller you will probably feel discomfort and a lot of tender spots
  • Keep session short at first.  Typically you will need about 10-15 minutes depending on the area or areas you are trying to work.
  • Drink extra water after using your roller
  • Rest of day between sessions when you first start
  • Ask Dr. Zerdecki or Dr. Barrett about specific exercises you can do to help you use your foam roller more effectively.

Below is an excerpt from

For more information on foam-rolling contact us at (which has much more information about injury prevention) or email us at [email protected]

The Best injury prevention exercise you are not doing

Foam-Roll Exercises

Foam rolling is in many ways like a deep massage—but you give it to yourself. By rolling the hard foam over your thighs, calves, and back, you’ll loosen tough connective tissue (like the fascia, which stretches over many of your muscles and can tighten up) and decrease the stiffness of your muscles. The result? Better flexibility and mobility, and muscles that can function properly. I recommend foam rolling before any workout, but in reality, you can do it anytime. The easiest time is to pull out the foam roller while you’re watching TV.

If you’ve never foam-rolled before, be prepared. It’s uncomfortable and
can even be painful when you start. Don’t worry—the more painful it is, the more that muscle needs foam rolling. The good news is that the more you do it, the less discomfort you’ll feel. For each muscle that you work, slowly move the roller back and forth over it for 30 seconds.

If you hit a really tender spot, pause on it for 5 to 10 seconds. Definitely focus on the muscles that need rolling the most. You’ll know which ones they are just by trying it. You’ll find 36-inch foam rollers at most sports or fitness shops, but in a pinch you can also use a basketball, tennis ball, or even a length of PVC pipe.

Place a foam roller under your right knee, with your leg straight. Cross your left leg over your right ankle. Put your hands flat on the floor for support. Keep your back naturally arched.

Roll your body forward until the roller reaches your glutes. Then roll back and forth. Repeat with the roller under your left knee. NOTE: If rolling one leg is too difficult, perform the movement with both legs on the roller.

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