Foam Rolling: Is it worth it?
Now I know we have all heard of foam rolling and there are many things out there including both that foam rolling is bad and good for you. Today we are here to dispel any myths about foam rolling and to talk about some of the more important muscle groups that foam rolling can help.
Foam Rolling also known as “Self-Myofacial Release” is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness and trigger points. Typically, a high dense cylindrical foam “roller” is used, but at times may be preformed by a lacrosse or tennis balls, Thera cane, by hand, or even other odds and ends (I have seen people use 3-inch diameter PVC piping before) The pressure applied on these specific muscles on your body are used to aid in the recovery of muscle and assist in promoting blood flow, helping muscles to return to normal function. This means that a muscle is returned to the proper amounts of elasticity, health, and movement.
Trigger points are specific “knots” that form in muscles. They are unique and can be identified because they typically refer pain. Pain referral, for our purposes, can most easily be described as the pain felt when pressure is applied to one area of the body, but the pain is felt or radiated in another area.
One of the most common areas we see this is in the leg with runner’s. Many try to roll the “IT” band Iliotibial Band, which goes down to the knee. However, this and is actually connective tissue and will not lengthen or shorten. Where the actual tigger point lies are within the tensor fascia latta muscle, or TFL. This pelvic muscle connects directly to the IT band and when contracts, causing a pulling on the band. So rather than rolling or compression of the connective tissue we need to look at compression of the TFL for triggers.
If you want to find out more about Foam Rolling or would like to go through a demonstration of how to use rollers, talk with myself or one of the therapists. We will be glad to show you how to properly work on those tiggers at home.