Step AWAY from the Foam Roller.
And, I am just going to say it. Most people are using foam rollers, therapy balls and other self-care tools incorrectly. As a result, they are doing the work and expecting results but only finding temporary relief.
I don’t like to be a Debbie Downer or to poo-poo other’s teachings, but it is really heartbreaking for me when a client walks through my treatment room door with ongoing pain and reduced range of motion that hasn’t improved — no matter how hard they have tried.
Typically this client has usually watched all the YouTube videos out there — on subjects like how to use a foam rollers or how to use a lacrosse ball to relieve pain — and they may have also received help from a well-trained physical therapist or a personal trainer.
And yet, they still have pain. It’s not the client’s fault and it’s generally not the health professional’s fault. The problem is that most of the information available on how to effectively relieve pain and tightness is OUTDATED. The prescribed methods don’t deal with the underlying problems that are causing the pain, don’t fully release the tightness, and don’t allow the tissues to unwind.
If you have to continue using a foam roller every day to help relieve pain in part of your body, and the pain keeps coming back, then you are not getting to the root cause of the issue. Your methods are a healthier alternative to living with pain or taking an over-the-counter medication, but if you’re going to put the work in, don’t you want it to be effective?
One of my recent program clients (we’ll call her Jane, for privacy) came to see me because she had been suffering with shoulder pain. She wasn’t able to put her jacket on without experiencing some pain. She wasn’t able to workout in the way she wanted to, and so she was becoming less and less active. Jane was athletic most of her life and had knowledge on how to care for her body and keep herself physically fit. She had used a foam roller and a therapy ball to address the pain in her shoulder but unfortunately these methods weren’t working. It’s actually not the foam roller’s fault that it wasn’t helping. It’s that Jane didn’t know how to USE the foam roller in a way that addressed the underlying, connective tissues were causing her pain to flare up.
Throughout the course of her program with me, I taught Jane how to effectively use the foam roller. During our treatment time together we were able to identify tight, restricted areas that she was able to work on in between our sessions together. She already knew how to use the foam roller, but with the simple adjustments we made and the education she received in my program — about how to identify the connected areas that were also contributing to her pain — she made great progress on her path to pain-free living in a short period of time.
In just 6 weeks, Jane had increased her range of motion, she was able to put her jacket on without pain, she felt stronger in her strength-training routine and she felt calmer, overall — even through a stressful period of her life.
A Better Way
After hearing the stories of hundreds of clients over the past 10 years and reflecting on my own personal experiences, I can firmly say that the narrative about how to reduce pain in woefully outdated. We can all find a better, gentler, more effective way for treating and relieving pain. It is possible.
If you are curious and you want the support and guidance on a new way to use foam rollers and other therapy tools so that you can receive the full benefits of them. I’d love to help.
Email me at [email protected] to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.
Jessica Kaloutas, LMT, is an expert Myofascial Release therapist and teacher for those suffering from chronic pain, acute injury and trauma. It’s her calling to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal. She’s known for blending the ancient wisdom of Myofascial Release with empathy and compassion to offer powerful, mind/body education and treatment, resulting in personal empowerment, long-lasting pain relief and an amazing, joyful life. North Shore Myofascial Release is here to help you.