Foam Rolling Techniques, Releasing Trigger Points

What is Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a form of Self-Myo Fascial Release ( SMR), a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain. It is used to relax contract muscles and trigger points, improve blood and lymphatic circulation , and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles. Foam rolling is used by athletes and physical therapists to aid in recovery of muscles that are prone to be overactive.

Immobility and pain in skeletal muscle stems from tightness with the fascia. Fascia is a thin , tough elastic type of connective tissue that wraps most structures with the human body. including muscle. Fascia supports and protects the structures. It can be restricted due to over use , trauma and in activity which results in inflammation.  Once enough build up occurs the connective tissue can thicken , which results in pain and irritation. This is what causes trigger points.  Trigger Points , commonly known as knots , are hyper irritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle.

To correct these issues  there are a variety of foam rolling techniques and foam rollers in a variety of densities. The Density of the foam roller is often denoted by the color of the roller. Those new to foam rolling , or those who have particularly tight muscles or severe trigger points , often start with a softer foam roll. Foam rolling should accompany static stretching following vigorous activities  to promote healthy tissue function and reduce  muscular pain and injuries. Frequency and duration of foam rolling will depend on the activity of the user. It can be used as general maintenance or to recondition over used tissues.


General Foam Rolling Techniques

  1. Do a light warm up before using the foam roller or use post workout to insure tissues are warm and pliable.
  2. Roll Slowly over the desired are multiple time to flush tissues and increase blood circulation to the area  ( as my wife says try not to scream )
  3. If an area of the muscle feels unusually tender or sore this is most likely a Trigger Point.  hold on to that spot for 20-30 seconds and the repeat step to to flush  the area again.
  4. repeat steps 2&3 multiple times or until soreness in the are has reduced
RaeAnne Meyer-Joiner

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