Maybe you are like us here at Concho Valley Chiropractic, and have your social media pages flooded with ads for different foam roller products, or maybe that’s just from the targeting of device used by a chiropractor. Are those cylindrical pieces of foam really worth it? And are the claims that we see on those advertisements really accurate? We see these products popping up all over the internet, and we also have a few here at the office, so for this week’s blog entry we are going to be diving into the benefits of using a foam roller.
Foam Rolling Improves Range of Motion
Movement is a huge part of living a healthy life. As chiropractors we are constantly having to be creative to find ways to get our patient’s bodies moving in order to keep them well. From our necks to our toes, daily life has a way of making us stiff and restricted. Sometimes it’s our joints that restrict us, and other times it’s our muscles. Foam rolling aims to apply a targeted stretch to muscles while at the same time providing mechanical stimulation. While some of the direct muscle physiology is still unknown and under researched, many of the effects have been observed and recorded. In 2018 the journal Sports-Medicine Open documented that range of motion could be significantly increased and stiffness significantly decreased after foam rolling for just three days in a row. Since this is a treatment with no significant negative side effects it seems to be a great home remedy for anyone who just feels stiff and wants to move better.
Foam Rolling can Reduce Pain and Inflammation
As a wellness chiropractic clinic we are frequently trying to steer our patient’s conversation away from pain and towards proactive health. However, it is very common for pain and discomfort to be what limits us in achieving our goals. Many of our patients have jobs that significantly alter their posture, and can cause deep aches. Foam rolling is a good first line of defense for these situations. The combination of pressure over the muscle group and active movement, aims to reduce tension but also promote movement of lymphatic fluid in the body. As chiropractors we tend to favor treatments that are active, being involved in the care for your body provides much better long term relief. Again, some of the exact physiology is unknown at this point, but the overall effect is clear. After foam rolling many people simply feel better.
Foam Rolling Aids in Muscle Recovery
When we hear term “Muscle Recovery” many people immediately think about athletes. While athletes are very in tune with muscle recovery, this applies to so many more groups. A large amount of our patient base is members of the workforce with strenuous jobs, and muscle recovery is very important for their quality of life and safety. Another avenue, is patients with significant neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. These disorders can lead to spasticity in muscles that will leave them exhausted and very painful. So whether you are aiming to improve athletically, or work long hours in the oilfield, or struggle with a condition leaving your muscles exhausted, foam rolling is an excellent exercise to do at the end of a long day. Meta-analysis research has shown that while sought mainly for performance foam rolling is an excellent treatment to aid in muscle recovery.
Foam Rolling Significantly Helps Fibromyalgia
One of the most challenging conditions that plagues people in our communities is fibromyalgia. Since fibromyalgia is such a frustrating disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, as chiropractors we are frequently looking for research as to what effectively helps it. It was fascinating to see that published in 2019, a study in Frontiers in Physiology, demonstrated that participants with fibromyalgia saw significant relief after starting to use foam rollers. It was increasingly impressive as the study not only compared subjective pain levels, but also examined other quality of life factors including fatigue and depression. While fibromyalgia and foam rolling have frequently left researchers with more questions than answers, this particular study is excellent for patient education and offers quality of life management to sufferers of fibromyalgia with no side effects.
In research foam rolling falls under the umbrella term of self-myofascial release, and still emerging in the research field. With that being said it is a treatment form that we highly favor. Foam rolling is something that both of us chiropractors here at Concho Valley Chiropractic frequently teach our patient’s how to do. It is important to remember that there is no perfect treatment for all patients. Issues in the body that feel similar can often come from different structures so it is important to make sure you are working with a provider to created detailed care for you. For particular muscles or particular conditions use of a foam roller change greatly, however this is best taken on a case-by-case basis. So if you are curious about how to use a foam roller best for you and are in San Angelo, make sure to give us call!