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Have you joined the Foam Roller Revolution?

January was back pain month for my family and friends! My husband had upper back pain after running and several of my friends and I had back pain, from shoveling snow . We were all starting to feel our age. Then I bumped into a friend at the YMCA, who was to change all that. She told me about using a foam roller for back pain and showed me a few exercises, which gave me almost instant relief. Back home I began researching and found that the foam roller, for “myofascial release”, is the latest big thing in sports medicine, and the research is compelling.


The benefits a foam roller

According to the research myofascial release, with a foam roller may help with:

  • Prevention of soft tissue injuries in athletes and fitness fans
  • Stretching and relaxing muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia (connective tissue just below the skin) and other soft tissue
  • Breaking down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue
  • Improving blood flow and the health of blood vessels
  • Enhancing lymphatic circulation,
  • Increasing range of movement in a muscle group
  • Speeding recovery from “IT band syndrome”, shin splints and other soft tissue injuries
  • Relieving muscle knots or “trigger points”: you know how good that feels!


How to use a foam roller

As with any exercise or treatment, consult your doctor or physical therapist before using a foam roller.

Exercise or warm up your muscles. Place the foam roller on an exercise mat  and rest on it. Roll back and forth across each area 10 – 15 times. Focus  a little longer on any tender spot.

Areas to “roll”:

  • Back and sides: from shoulders to buttocks
  • Hip area and legs: buttocks, calf, thigh and soft area of the shin

Avoid: bony areas, bruised skin and neck


For more information and some specific exercises here’s a great article to get you started: Plus, there are some great videos by physical therapists on on Youtube.

The foam roller is a great tool for people with minor soft tissue injuries and aches and pains, and it only takes a few minutes, once or twice a day. Mine cost only $25 and I have used it daily since then: no more knotted back for me!

For more information on the latest trends in health follow my blog,


The Foam Roller Revolution

The Foam Roller Revolution



That friend I mentioned: Judith Panzano! THANKS!

Sullivan KM. Roller-massager application to the hamstrings increases sit-and-reach range of motion within five to ten seconds without performance impairments. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Jun;8(3):228-36.Ferguson, Lucy Whyte. “Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis: The Tethered Spine.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2013)

Okamoto, Takanobu, Mitsuhiko Masuhara, and Komei Ikuta. “Acute Effects of Self-Myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller on Arterial Function.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 28.1 (2014): 69-73.

Macdonald, Graham Z., Michael D.h. Penney, Michelle E. Mullaley, Amanda L. Cuconato, Corey D.j. Drake, David G. Behm, and Duane C. Button. “An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27.3 (2013): 812-21.

“Why a Foam Roller Works.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Categories: General
Dr Leonaura Rhodes

One Response

  1. Thanks for posting this, Leonaura. Frank and I were discussing these yesterday but didn’t know what to do with them!