How To Use A Foam Roller For Your Spine

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 11, 2016

spine foam roller

Foam rollers are a rather inexpensive option that can help relieve back pain caused by a few different conditions. That being said, like most therapies, you can do more harm than good to your spine if you’re not careful. Today, we share some tips to help you correctly use a foam roller to manage your spine pain.

For those of you unfamiliar with foam rollers, they are essentially a self-massage tool that works by applying slight pressure to your spine, neck or extremities. Here’s how to best use them.

Talk To Your Spine Specialist

As with any new treatment technique, run it by your spine specialist first. Not only can your doctor walk you through some steps for using the roller, but they can explain where direct pressure should be avoided. A physical therapist can also be helpful, but if you’re coming off a surgery, speaking with your surgeon is probably best.

Avoiding Over-Rolling Sensitive Areas

If you have a tender spot on your spine, you might think that’s where you should concentrate your rolling efforts, but you’d be wrong. Overdoing it on your sensitive areas can lead to nerve or tissue damage. The sensation of pressure may feel good, but you shouldn’t spend any extra time in these areas. Limit yourself to 15-30 seconds of light pressure before moving elsewhere.

Avoid Your Lower Back

Even if your pain is stemming from your lumbar spine, you’ll want to avoid pressurizing this area. Your shoulder blades and back muscles act as a natural shield for your upper spine, but the lower spine doesn’t have as much protection. Using a foam roller on your lower spine can cause the spinal muscles in the area to contract, causing even more problems, especially if you’re dealing with a pinched nerve or bulging disc. Instead, focus on your ribcage and glutes, as muscle tightness in those areas can contribute to lumbar spine pain.

Take It Slow

Inexperienced rollers tend to roll the device quick or in a rapid back-and-forth motion, which isn’t doing much good for your body. You’ll be more apt to relieve spinal muscle tightness if you go nice and slow. A good pace to consider is to move about an inch or two each second. This allows your muscles to relax to the pressure instead of just sensing it.

If you are dealing with muscle tightness or soreness, ask your spine specialist if you would benefit from a foam spine roller. For more information about the device, or to talk to a skilled spine surgeon, contact us today.

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