Over the past few years I've seen all kinds of posts on the internet about the right size, shape, and texture to use. The use of foam rollers has spread like wildflowers. You can even get one with flowers decorated on it, ha!
But is this soft tissue therapy really helpful for the treatment of skeletal muscle issues like immobility, pain, loss of range of motion, and athletic performance?
Let's turn to what the research indicates.
A recent review of the literature was presented May 2015 at the American College of Sports Medicine 62nd Annual Meeting. Nine studies were evaluated. Six using foam rollers and three with handheld rollers.
- Range of motion: All 5 studies measuring range of motion showed an increase.
- Pain: All 3 studies measuring muscle soreness or fatigue showed an improvement.
- Performance: 3 studies showed an increase in vertical jump height. Though it should be noted at other studies have not demonstrated consistent results when measuring other performance markers such as running speed, rated perceived exertion, and power output.
- Side effects: 0 of the studies saw impaired performance as a result of using either form of self-myofascial release.
- Self-myofascial release is a BENEFICIAL way to improve skeletal muscle issues like immobility, pain, loss of range of motion, and may improve certain aspects of athletic performance.
- Self-myofascial release might provide a better warm-up option than traditional static stretching exercises which has actually shown reductions in neuromuscular performance when used as a warm-up to exercise.
- The theory is that fascia, the underlying connective tissue beneath skin and interlacing between muscles, tightens as a protective response to trauma. This can lead to more dense, fibrous collagen and elastin fibers which are less able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed. Ultimately this can reduce muscle functioning and cause pain. Myofascial release might reverse this process.
- Some research suggests that myofascial release could break the fibrous adhesions that may form from injury, disease, inactivity, and inflammation.
- Other studies suggest that it can improve a muscle's viscoelastic properties, increase mutochondria biogenesis and blood flow.
Regardless of the exact mechanism of how myofascial release works to benefit skeletal muscle issues such as immobility, pain, loss of range of motion, and certain athletic performance measures, it is clear that it is beneficial.
So call today, 509-466-1366, or request an appointment online and find out how to properly use a foam roller for you muscular complaints and what other ways we could help you.