So who here has had muscle soreness and/or cramping, not only during or after a workout but also just in general? Sure, we all have. One thing that I’ve gotten more and more into and have been doing on a daily basis that I’d like to discuss briefly today is foam rolling.
As a Monroeville Chiropractor, I’ve started to talk a lot more extensively to my patients about this and I don’t just do it for the sake of doing it, I do it because it really does work.
Technically foam rolling is called “self-myofascial release”. In essence, that is a fancy word for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, loose, and healthy.
I feel that foam rolling is absolutely a necessity for anyone that runs for exercise or as recreation! Do it both before and after you run.
Me personally? Well I tell the patients in my Penn Hills Chiropractor office that I do in fact use a foam roller for about 5-10 minutes a day as a routine and I do it for 5-10 minutes after any workout at the gym as part of my post-exercise stretching routine. I feel that it’s best to use on both a routine and post exertion. I really focus on my legs. I roll mainly my IT band, hamstrings, calves, quads, and hip flexors. I also do some mid back rolling. Trust me on this, you will feel some discomfort. Especially on that IT band. But it’s a “good hurt” as it’s breaking up the trigger points and tight muscle adhesions. It feels much looser when you’re done, believe me.
I just use a short 12 inch roller. That works for me and is very cost-effective. They have 36 inch long ones that work well, but frankly I don’t see the need. I’d recommend a 12 inch, full round one just for simple personal use like this.
Frankly, you can find many articles and videos online with the proper techniques for rolling. A great detailed article is here. And here is a great picture with some different rolling techniques. YouTube is a wonderful tool to find video instruction. Regardless of where you find the instructions, just simply do it!
– Dr. Brent Shealer – Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Penn Hills Chiropractor