Foam rollers are becoming very common among health enthusiasts and for good reason. Mostly, they are used by athletes who run long distances since the chances of encountering neck problems are way too high. In fact, these rollers are perfect in alleviating pain in the neck. Although there are other ways of easing neck pain, such as physical massage, foam rolling has proved to be one of the most effective neck pain relieve exercises. Foam rolling is highly effective if used to treat pain that originates from the neck muscles. It is efficient because you do not need a therapist to undergo the massage. Instead, you can do it yourself and end up easing the pain on your neck. According to experts, this form of massage works by increasing the flow of blood to body muscles, thus relieving tension in soft tissue. It is perfect for people with idiopathic neck pain since it provides short-term pain relief. Note also that foam rolling is specifically for muscle pain easing. So, people with neck pain as a result of degenerative disc diseases or arthritis are advised to first consult with their doctors before attempting to use foam rollers.
How to Use Foam Rollers Effectively and Safely
If you are looking to using foam rollers to relieve neck pain, there are some precautions to observe in order to do it effectively and in a safe way. Outlined below are some of the most helpful tips that you should bear in mind before giving foam rolling a try:
1. Use Foam Rollers on Muscles Alone
The first important aspect to keep in mind is that foam rollers are only used on muscles. It is not advisable to use them on body joints or bones. More so, you should avoid using them horizontally on your neck or directly over the spine. This is because you are likely going to cause more complications to your neck or spine if they are utilized inappropriately. Instead, you should use foam rollers vertically on your neck. Again, they should be rolling out from either side of the spine.
2. How to Roll a Foam Roller
It is highly recommended that you roll it slowly until you locate a tender spot joint. Once you find it, you should then apply pressure gently to the spot until the pain eases completely. Make sure you do not do this for more than 1 minute to avoid causing further complications to your body muscles. If you attend a gym and you need help on how to do this, you should seek help from the gym attendant.
3. Discomfort When Using Foam Rollers
Even the normal massage is not that comfortable. This means that whoever is being massaged has to experience some pain. When it comes to foam rollers, you have to encounter slight pain and uneasiness. This is usually when the rollers are releasing muscle knots. Note that the pain should not be that severe. In case you feel stabbing or sharp pain while rolling the foam rollers on your body, you should stop right away. Always seek professional help before using these rollers to ease your neck pain.
4. Where Not to Use Foam Rollers
You should not apply foam rolling on every part of your body. For example, you should avoid using them on your lower back. This is because low back pain is rarely caused by the back muscles. Foam rollers can make other low back conditions even worse, so never apply them on your lower back.
5. Where Foam Rollers are Ineffective
Although foam rolling is a highly recommended method of easing neck pain, sometimes it may be ineffective, especially on the muscle knots in your shoulders and neck. This is because reaching such muscles is not easy at all. In such a situation, one is advised to go for trigger point massage. This is a bit more effective than foam rollers. Foam rolling can be effective if combined with physical therapy, stretching exercises and medication. You should learn how to stretch your neck muscles to help relieve pain. Also, the usual massage can help in curbing the pain on your neck. If the problem persists, consider seeking immediate medical advice. In case you have other health complications, consider seeing a doctor before trying foam rolling.