Self-Care: Foam Rolling & Fascia "Improving your mobility at home"
Foam Rolling & Fascia "Improving your mobility at home"
by Scott Shinick
As a result of the Corona Virus pandemic and the many “Stay at Home” orders, most of us are either quarantined for public health concerns, or are part of the Essential-Workers, First Responders & Healthcare services. Either way, this is a stressful time for our mind & bodies causing us to react in a multitude of ways. Both groups are doing their part to save lives, but not all suffer the same ailments. For some it means over worked bodies with sore muscles along with repetitive strains while others are dealing with the potential for inactivity.
Whichever category you fall into we must remember to take care of ourselves. Now more than ever we must think of self-care, and in the times of quarantine & COVID 19 the foam roller can be one of our best friends.
Over work or over-training as well as inactivity & poor posture can cause your muscles to go through a constant process of breakdown and repair.
Over time this causes the muscles to become tight when the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, starts to thicken and shorten to protect the underlying muscle from further damage.
Sometimes the muscle fibers and fascia contract so much they form trigger points, which present as sore spots or adhesions needing to be released.
Fascia also has the ability to contract and thicken independently of the muscles it surrounds. When affected or impacted, it responds to stress without your conscious command and that’s not a good thing!
Why? Because it means our fascia is impacting & altering our movements and mobility.
It means that the skills we as therapeutic massage therapists, physical therapists and orthopedists provide are a major part of the pain management & rehabilitation professions. And with the public health crisis we are in, the Foam Roller has become a much needed (and cheaper) option until the “stay at home” orders are lifted.
Here’s what we know…
Fascia is made primarily of densely packed collagen fibers that permeate your muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels and organs. There isn’t a place in your body where fascia doesn’t exist.
When fascia becomes restricted, adhesions form causing soreness, restricted movement, gait change, referral pains and potential injury.
Foam rolling, also known as self myofascial release, is the application of pressure to a particular area to eliminate soft-tissue adhesion and reduce scar-tissue by freeing up your connective tissue or fascia.
The good news is fascia and trigger points can be released and the foam roller is a helpful massage tool to do so. Even better, once released, the problems tight fascia and muscles have caused usually clears up.
The goal of myofascial therapy is to lengthen (stretch) and loosen the fascia so that it and other structures can move more freely, resulting in decreased muscle and joint pain, increased circulation, as well as improved mobility, balance and gait for peak performance.
In short, myofascial release through the use of a foam roller helps you become a stronger, faster, less injury-prone athlete.
Foam rolling can be performed pre or post workout. Before exercise, foam rolling will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion (ROM) and circulation (blood flow). This can help you move better during your workout and protect you from injury, while foam rolling post-workout is a great way to enhance recovery & reduce soreness.
You need to be slow and deliberate in your movements. Once you find a sensitive area, slowly work back and forth over the spot maintaining pressure anywhere from 30-90 seconds. Again, be thoughtful and think of foam rolling like melting through the muscle and fascia
Start with half your body weight, using your hands or other leg to adjust pressure, and slowly work into full body weight. Don’t approach foam rolling haphazardly. Stay focused on your form throughout your entire session. If you find yourself too tired after a hard workout, come back to foam rolling after you’ve rested or maybe in the evening. Make it a routine.
You can also record yourself using your phone. It’s quick and provides immediate feedback after your session to see if you need to improve any of your positions.
For any questions or tips, please don’t hesitate to contact us as info@bodysupportcenter or visit our website www.bodysupportcenter.com for weekly wellness tips, workout videos & therapeutic self-care education.
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