Foam Roller for Back Pain and Stiffness – Physical Therapist Exercises

Yoga For Back Pain
Learn how to use a foam roller for back relief and release tight back muscles and joint stiffness with this Physical Therapist exercise video from Michelle at https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au
This exercise video shows you Physical Therapy foam roller exercises for your thoracic spine (middle and upper back). These exercises are also useful for warming up before exercise, improving posture (reducing hunchback spine) and providing relief for the upper and middle back.

More Videos for Back Release Using a Rolled Up Towel

» Physiotherapist Upper Back Stretches to Relieve Stiffness and Pain – Video Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB3tV1Qlc5o&list=UUPQS5BOA_GLQKCc07ZCOjJg&index=52
» Physiotherapist Upper and Middle Back Stretches – Video Part 2

Foam Roller Back Exercises Video
The foam roller exercises demonstrated in the video above are described below.

1. Muscle Release for your Middle and Upper Back

Starting Position
• Place the roller on a firm surface
• Lean backwards and rest your mid back against the horizontally placed roller
• Support your head and neck with your hands
• Spread your elbows wide

Technique
• Place the roller horizontally under your middle back
• Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground
• Raise your buttocks off the ground so your body weight rests through your feet and the foam roller
• Move the foam roller upwards between the shoulder blades and then down to the lower part of the middle back by bending and then extending your knees

2. Joint Release for your Middle and Upper Back

Starting Position
• Place the roller on a firm surface
• Recline and rest your mid back against the roller
• Support your head and neck with your hands
• Bring your elbows close together so they’re almost touching

Technique
• Use the same starting technique outlined for muscle release
• Rather than bending and extending the legs to move the roller, extend (arch) your upper backwards slightly directing your elbows to the ceiling
• Repeat this technique at different levels of your middle and upper spine.
If you feel any discomfort associated with using the foam roller for back release, cease these exercises immediately.

What is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling for back pain involves rolling the upper and middle back over a polystyrene foam cylinder. This compressed the back tissues resulting in a number of benefits.

The Benefits of Using a Foam Roller for Your Back

Benefits include:
• Decreased post exercise muscle soreness (1)
• Improved muscle performance (1)
• Improved joint range of motion (2)
• Decreased post exercise fatigue (3)
• Improved flexibility in spinal connective tissues (4)

Your posture can also benefit by extending the thoracic spine. Most of us spend a proportion of our day with our spines bent or flexed forwards at the workplace or during other activities during the course of the day.

Foam Roller Substitute for Back Relief

If your back feels uncomfortable using a foam roller, suitable alternative include using a:
• rolled towel
• D roll (half size foam roller)
• Polystyrene pool noodle (readily cut to size using a kitchen bread knife)

Tips for Using a Foam Roller for Back Pain

• Start with a small circumference roller
• Use a low density roller
• Gradually increase the size of the roller over time
• Support your neck when extending over the roller
• Breathe out when extending over the roller
• Avoid hyper-extending your lower back by keeping your buttocks raised above the ground
• Avoid foam rolling with an acute (recent) back injury or osteoporosis

How Often to Use the Foam Roller on Your Back

You can use the roller whenever you choose:
– Before and/or after exercise
– Taking a break from studying or desk work
– Anytime your upper back feels stiff and tired

References

1. Macdonald G. et al (2014) Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 46(1), pp 131-42. Retrieved from https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=24343353

2. Cheatham S. et al (2014) THE EFFECTS OF SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE USING A FOAM ROLL OR ROLLER MASSAGER ON JOINT RANGE OF MOTION, MUSCLE RECOVERY, AND PERFORMANCE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. Int J Sports Phys Ther.10(6), pp 827-38. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/

3. Healey K. et al (2014) The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.28 (1), pp 61–68. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2014/01000/The_Effects_of_Myofascial_Release_With_Foam.8.aspx

4. Griefahn A. et al (2017) Fascia science and clinical applications: Original research Do exercises with the Foam Roller have a short-term impact on the thoracolumbar fascia? – A randomized controlled trial Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 21(1), pp 186-193. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1360859216300912

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