Once primarily used by athletes and physical therapists during supervised sessions, foam rollers have gained popularity as a back pain prevention tool for everyday use. When used properly, they can be useful and effective. If you’re thinking about using a foam roller to alleviate your back pain, do your spine a favor by paying attention to the following dos and don’ts.
1. Do Pay Attention to Posture
Foam rollers can be good for your back as long as you’re mindful of your posture. The correct placement for the roller depends on which part of the spine you’re targeting. If you’re not sure, consider working with a trainer or seek some input from a physical therapist or board-certified back doctor in Santa Monica.
2. Don’t Roll Directly on Your Lower Back
Your upper spine gets extra support from your shoulder blades, so it’s fine to use it for this part of your back. However, your lower back doesn’t have this protection, which means you need to avoid rolling it under your lumbar spine. Instead, focus on supporting the muscles in your hips, buttocks, and thighs that can also be a source of nerve-related back pain.
3. Do Roll Slowly
You’re not going to relieve muscle tension with fast rolls. Make an effort to roll slowly so you really hit the right spots and give your muscles a chance to respond and adapt. Slow rolling also allows you to determine which pressure points respond best to the movements of the foam roller.
4. Don’t Overdo It on Tender Spots
Avoid over-rolling on parts of your back where muscles are tender enough to cause pain when targeted. Though you’ll want to slowly condition sore or weak muscles in 15 to 30 second intervals, too much stimulation may lead to nerve or tissue damage.
See what your doctor has to say first, especially if you have chronic back pain. Depending on the source of your back pain, a foam roller may not be the best thing for your spine. If you do experience new or worsening back pain while using a foam roller, meet with a Santa Monica spine surgeon to find a more effective treatment for alleviating your pain.
Depending on the source of your pain, there are a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical ways to find relief. At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, we offer many different minimally invasive procedures, including Mobi-C disc replacement, spinal cord stimulation, and extreme lateral interbody fusion. Give us a call today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation and take your first steps toward leading a pain-free life.