Misconceptions Common To Foam Rolling & Self-Myofascial Release


1. “Is a foam roller suitable for lower back pain?”
Yes. Foam rollers are complementary for the size, morphology, density and direction of your overall muscle structure (musculoskeletal structure), especially for the lower back muscles that are hard to penetrate. Most lower back pain is associated with muscle tension and disjointedness. The handles on the Atlas Foam Roller allow you to control the amount of pressure you place on your lower back; you can either choose to lightly graze that area or dig in to the deep knots and tension in the dense muscle tissue.
Throughout my own experience I have seen excellent results from daily foam rolling, including the lower spine or lumosacral area. Just like everyone else I see a chiropractor on occasion. At first I was a bit nervous that my chronic foam rolling sessions would or could possibly inflame or cause problems to my lower back. I was assessed by Dr. Ryan Bones for my neck [pain and my hips. After he assessed my spine he was excited not only that I was foam rolling in-between sessions but that my lower lubosacral area was very “springy” or had an excellent rebound tone to it. Essentially he advised me that foam rolling with the Atlas Foam Roller combined with stretching has helped my spine health. The elasticity was above average.

2. “What density foam should be selected to avoid over stressing the lower back area?” 
Surprisingly, the lower back can take on the high -> medium density foam without a problem. If you are experiencing pain you must assess what type of pain that you are experiencing. If the pain is a sharp stinging pain or a pain that radiates down the leg then I would suggest to go with the medium density foam. If your pain feels like a burning sensation, pulling sensation, pressure sensation or stretch sensation then the high density foam roller is well suited for you. I personally switch back and forth from the high density foam to the lower density foam depending on how my back feels that day. What I mean by that is I personally use or combine the high density Atlas Foam Roller along with the medium density Reinforced Foam Roller. I start with the medium density roller to “warm up my back” to loosen it up and then I switch to the high density Atlas Foam Roller to finish the self-myofascial release session. Sometimes I just lay on the center of the Atlas Foam Roller so that my lower back and hips can encompass and sink into the foam. That technique assists in muscle tension relaxation (golgi-tendon manipulation) and overall improvements in lumbosacral (low spine- hip) flexibility.

3. Some websites suggest to avoid foam rolling the lower back, is it okay to roll over lower spine area? 
Absolutely! When searching the world wide web information is everywhere. You can find good information and bad information. Unfortunately there are companies out there that post about “un-proven” or “unsubstantiated” evidence of low back concerns as it relates to foam rolling. I imagine they do this so they will be featured in Google at a high “keyword” rank so they can sell their product to you or anyone searching for “side-effects” or “health concerns” that plague individuals while foam rolling. Before you take a “supplement” or “drug” do you not look up side effects of the drug first?” The most important idea to keep in mind is that there is a proper way to foam roll the lower back and there are improper ways to foam roll the lower back. Since the Atlas Foam Roller has handles, you can control the distance at which your lower back sinks into the foam. You can also control the speed and distance you travel away from the foam as you roll from from upper back -> lower back.
4. Should I foam roll before or after a workout?
 I suggest you foam roll throughout your entire workout to keep those areas loose that stiffen up limiting your range of motion.
5. I have a chronic back pain problem from a slipped disk, is that a problem?  Can I still foam roll?
Ans:  YES! Foam rolling is healthy for all chronic conditions related to back pain & “chronically inflammation in vertebral disks.” Foam Rolling can take pressure off the area of concern. My Stretch Therapy Methods prove this statement. I had a client with chronic back pain.  Though my methods an her willingness to push through the uncomfortable adhesion knots she left the session with a lot less pain & more flexibility than 2 years worth of therapy! Amazing.

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About the Author : Mark H.

Hello everyone Mark Harman from Dallas, Texas. Other than owning Living Organically Valuing Exercise LLC. I am a full time Paramedic. Paramedicine along with my BS in biology has taught me a lot about the body in health and disease. I am enthusiastically obsessed with foam rolling and self-myofascial release therapies and techniques. My passion grows everyday.

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