Healthy Tips & Advice

Healthy Beginnings Foam Rolling….”Roll Our Way”

Posted on October 4, 2018

Healthy Beginnings is a web based series put together by Hereford Physical Therapy. In it, we talk about all things wellness.

Last week, Hereford Physical Therapy hosted its’ first Wellness Workshop – called “Roll Our Way” where we highlighted the use of the foam roller. Here is a little portion of some of the information we talked about.

I often describe the foam roller as a tool with which I have a love/hate relationship. I absolutely hate the pain associated with the technique; however, the effects are so positive that it is often worth the price.

Self-myofascial release, also known as self-massage, can be done with a foam roller, tennis ball or even a cane. In this respect, “foam rolling” has changed myofascial release from a technique practiced by physical and massage therapists to a familiar everyday practice for people at all levels of fitness. One would apply pressure to specific points on your body, thus aiding in the recovery of muscles and supporting a return to normal function.

Myofascial release means different things to different people, but it usually involves applying pressure – either manually by a physical therapist or a tool like a foam roller. The pressure is applied to the tight muscles and fascia in an effort to get them to “release” and alleviate pain,

Doing this type of release is similar but different than traditional massage. Typically, instead of kneading the muscle or stroking, one will apply hard pressure to the specific point. This can be very painful but is very effective. The idea is to target “balled up” fascia to break up adhesions and soften up scar tissue.

What is myofascia?

Myofascia is the new trending word in the health and fitness industries. It is a thin fibrous tissue that encloses a muscle or organ. It is found from head to toe, inside and out, and is present throughout the entire body. It provides a framework to help support and protect muscle groups, organs and the body as a whole.

A good analogy is the rind of an orange. The outer layer of the orange peel – the thicker piece – would be your skin. The inner layer – the white fibrous layer that is under the peel would be the fascia. Just as that thicker layer completely surrounds the inside of the orange, the same holds true to your fascia. We all have a layer of fascia directly beneath our skin that completely covers the body, providing another protective barrier between the skin and the deeper soft tissue.

When a muscle is injured, it affects the fascia and can create Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Web MD describes MPS as a fancy way to describe muscle pain. It refers to pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissues.

It is a chronic condition that affects the fascia and may involve either a single muscle or a muscle group. In some cases, the area where a person experiences the pain may not even be where the myofascial pain generator is located.

The pain can be made worse with activity or stress. In addition to the local or regional pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome, people with the disorder also can suffer from depression, fatigue and behavioral disturbances.

Foam rolling when done properly can be a nice adjunct to your recovery from muscular pain.   Have questions?  Feel free to give us a call.

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