A foam roller is a great tool to increase a range of motion, decrease pain, and help release some of the fascial adhesions or “knots” you have underneath your skin. It has become one of the most popular tools for athletes, CrossFitters, anyone who is active, people with pain, or a combination of any of these. At AccessHealth Chiropractic Center in Cary, NC we often instruct patients on how to use one and advise it as part of a patient’s home treatment. One of the most common questions we get from chiropractic patients is “When should I use a foam roller? After I work out? Before I work out? Anytime I have a spare second?” So let’s talk about this!

Use a foam roller before you work out.

Research shows that static stretching (like standing in place and stretching your quadriceps muscles) can decrease your performance during a workout. NOT GOOD! That’s why we advise patients use dynamic stretching pre-workout. Myofascial release with a foam roller is a great way to increase a range of motion without causing a decrease in muscle strength during your workout. The whole point of stretching pre-workout is to loosen up your body and joints to avoid injury. This is where the foam roller shines. Another study showed that foam rolling around the knee increased knee range of motion by 7-20 degrees, which is GREAT!

Use a foam roller after a workout.

Post workout you are usually going to have some waste products built up in your tissues. You’ve probably heard of lactic acid build up, which is a normal part of muscle physiology. Foam rollers are great to pump lactic acid and other waste out of your tissues and into the lymphatic system. This can help reduce soreness you might have the next day.

Use a foam roller whenever you have a spare second.

Besides increasing range of motion and flexibility foam rolling is a great form of self-myofascial release. In other words, it helps disrupt some of the deeper scar tissue that causes discomfort and referred pain. For most people, they simply “feel better” after they do it, so it’s certainly not something you can only use pre and post workout.

In conclusion, there really isn’t a wrong time to foam roll.

You can foam roll all day if you want, but the most important point is that you need to create a routine. Just foam rolling now and then probably isn’t going to produce results, but doing it consistently will produce results. Be sure to see your chiropractor and make sure your discomfort isn’t resulting from something more serious like a spinal condition or muscular imbalance that can be easily corrected. At AccessHealth Chiropractic center in Cary, NC we combine chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, dry needling, rehab, and the newest techniques in sports and chiropractic medicine to help you reach your goals. Whether it’s being pain-free or improving your performance we can help you get there.