At this point in time we know foam rolling has some major benefits but with anything, there are some drawbacks. Listed below are some common mistakes you may be making that may not allow you to get the full benefit.
Following Pain – When there is pain, it is common to want to stretch, pull, compress it, or roll it. That being said, following the pain pattern or rolling the area of pain is not always beneficial because it does not always indicate that the area of dysfunction. Additionally, if you are rolling out an area that is tender, in pain, or inflamed, rolling or compressing the structure further may cause further damage and irritation.
Instead of rolling the painful area, try to roll or compress the structures around the area of pain. This can ensure that you are not further injuring or inflaming the painful area while at the same time you are loosening the connective tissue around the area of pain.
Bone Rolling – Muscles, tendons, and fascia have connection to bone, but compressing the muscle into the bone will be very uncomfortable. Try not to compress the muscles into the bone too much. A common area where this occurs is the outside (lateral) thigh. If you are compressing or rolling the muscle into the bone, trust me, you will feel it.
Instead try to roll out the dense connective tissue first. If it’s not possible to compress the muscle, then modify how much pressure you use on that muscle so that you do not compress it too hard.
Roller Density – Not all foam rollers are created equal. Did you know that there are different densities and types? The white foam roller is typically a little softer and has more give than the black one. There are also foam rollers with knobs, etc.
Knowing how to properly foam roll, the sensitivity of your muscles and how to take weight off the roller or muscle can help determine what type of foam roller density you may need. Know your fitness level and be honest with yourself prior to choosing a foam roller density.
Too much pressure/time – If you are foam rolling, there is no doubt you will experience some discomfort but if some is good, then more is better right? No!
Don’t over do it! You are supposed to release the tension by holding the compression for 5 – 30 seconds. If it is very painful then take more pressure off the area or decrease the amount of time you have on the area.
Rolling the low back – Rolling the low back may be disadvantageous. While you may think it’s helping for low back pain, the muscles around the area may have to contract to protect itself. Additionally, if there is a spinal condition, then direct pressure may be too much to handle.
Try to roll out the sides of the back if at all. Better yet, roll the hip flexors, glut muscles, piriformis muscles and other areas that attach to the pelvis and lower back.
Hopefully this allows you to recovery faster and improves your health. Please contact us if you have any questions.