By Naomi Brasier (Osteopath)

Stuck in self-isolation? Can’t get to your session? We have you covered with some awesome self-treatment techniques.

Have you ever heard of foam rolling or has your physio/osteo ever asked you to roll your muscles out with a spikey ball?

I’m sure many of you have heard of these things. But WHY do them? Are there any benefits? Is it pointless painful torture?

What is this type of treatment called?

These methods are all a form of self-myofascial release (SMFR). SMFR is used by people to help relieve their muscular pain and tightness.  Whether you’re a regular gym goer, desk worker or tradie who experiences muscular pain and tightness, there is a place for a foam roller and spikey ball in your every-day life.

So what are these self-myofascial release techniques actually doing?

One theory involves our nervous system. Your nervous system is a network of nerves and cells that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of your body.

What has that got to do with anything you ask!?

Well, there are receptors within your muscles and tendons that sense tissue tension and pain (e.g. the pain you experience when foam rolling).

Essentially, SMFR may work by helping to tell your nervous system to reduce pain signals from the muscle and tendon. It therefore effects your body’s perception of tightness and/or pain. This is why you often feel that pain and tightness has decreased after a period of foam rolling!

How can self-myofascial release benefit you?

Foam rolling can be used as a warm-up or cool-down tool due to its short-term effect of increasing joint range of motion. Research has shown that combining foam rolling with static stretching can have an added effect on flexibility. Foam rolling can also be used post-exercise to help reduce the pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This same principle can be applied to the pain you may experience following a session with your Osteo or Physio.

How long should you foam roll or use a spikey ball for?

Currently there is no consensus on what the best foam rolling/spikey ball program is. However, a recent study showed that foam rolling for JUST 10 seconds increases range of motion. Therefore, do your best to fit SMFR somewhere into your routine, even the smallest amount of SMFR can have a positive effect!

Take Home Message

Incorporate self-myofasical release (SFMR) into your daily routine, even if only for 2 minutes! It may be just what you need to get through the day in your at home office!

If you have any questions regarding foam rolling or self-myofascial release, feel free to contact us at the clinic or ask in your next appointment.

Stay tuned for some awesome self-release techniques that you can use at home!

If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic. We are always happy to help!

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