I know that for many of our patients at Capital Chiropractic I have recommended doing some foam rolling. It can help with back pain. But one question that I may not have answered for people is how you choose the right foam roller. There are so many out there from white to black, with treads, bumps and some that even vibrate too.
First let's start with what colour or texture.
If you are new to foam rolling I recommend you start with a white or a soft density foam roller.
What does that mean? The white foam rollers are less dense, so they have a little give to them. If you haven't done any foam rolling, it can be a good roller to start with because it will produce less pain and less pressure.
The denser the foam roller the more pressure you will feel on your muscles. Blue and green foam rollers are more dense and black foam rollers are usually the densest. If you are experienced, then using the black is the way to go.
Some rollers have tracks or dimples on them. I wouldn't suggest you start with these as they will give you a deeper self massage and will be a bit more painful to use.
Rollers vary in different sizes from the smallest being 3-4 cm to 90 cm. What I suggest is that you get a roller that is the width of you back, this way you can use it on from the top of your spine all the way to the bottom. So, 24- 35-inch roller should do, as the longer and more firm they are the more they will cost. Using a small ball, tennis or lacrosse ball can be great to get into the tough and smaller parts of your body like balls of your feet.
Why should you foam roll?
Foam rolling is a form of self myofascial release ( self massage) and it's great for taking out the tension in muscles. Foam rolling has been shown to help increase flexibility, remove muscle tension, improve performance and improve circulation.
When to use it – You can use this before and after exercise. You can use it anytime. Its great way to warm up but if you have been doing some strenuous exercise it's a great way to help relax the muscles. One of my favorite things to do is use it while I watch a hockey game. You don't have to be an active athlete this can benefit everyone.