Updated: May 22, 2022
Previously called Self-myofascial release (SMR), Self-myofascial rolling, uses various tools to relieve tension within the connective tissue of the human movement system. Foam rollers, roller balls, massage, or handheld devices (massage guns) are a few tools that can be used.
Why Should You Do Self-Myofascial Rolling?
Poor posture and repetitive movements can create dysfunction within the connective tissue of the human movement system (Iqbal & Alghadir, 2017). Eventually these dysfunction may lead to injuries. These repeated injuries can lead to the cumulative injury cycle. The cumulative injury cycle occurs during repetitive injuries and the repair response by the body. This can lead to tissue trauma and inflammation. This inflammation can then lead to the body's pain response, which can initiate the protective mechanism, increasing muscle tension, and causing muscles spasms (The National Academy of Sports Medicine, n.d.). These spasms are not like a cramp. They are a type of microspasm or tension of within the injured area (Jafri, 2014). Thus, causing adhesions within the myofascial tissues, which in turn cause a decrease in mobility within the soft tissue (Money, 2017).
Myofascial rolling and static stretching can help relieve tension. During myofascial rolling, myofascial areas are located. Those areas feel stiff and fixed rather than elastic and movable under light manual pressure. The focused rolling and stretching used in myofascial rolling helps to loosen up restricted movement, leading ultimately to reduced pain (Bauer, n.d.).
Benefits of Self-Myofascial Foam Rolling:
Self-myofascial rolling can improve joint range of motion, flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just a few minutes of application. It can also help with the correction of muscle imbalances.
How do I Self-Myofascial Foam Roll?
Foam rolling is pretty simple. To foam roll, slowly roll the targeted area until you find the most tender spot. Hold on that spot while relaxing the targeted area between 30 seconds and 90 seconds. During self-myofascial rolling it is important to maintain core stability.
Should Everyone Self-Myofascial Foam Roll?
No, self-myofascial foam rolling is not appropriate for everyone. Those who should avoid foam rolling include, those with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or any organ failure, bleeding disorders, or contagious skin conditions (Penney, n.d.).
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Bauer, B. (n.d.). Myofascial release therapy: Can it relieve back pain? Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/expert-answers/myofascial-release/faq-20058136#:~:text=Myofascial%20(my%2Do%2DFASH,connect%20and%20support%20your%20muscles.
Iqbal, Z.A. & Alghadir, A. H. (2017). Cumulative trauma disorders: A review. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil, 30 (4), 663-666. http://doi.org/10.3233/bmr-150266
Jafri, M.S. (2014). Mechanisms of myofascial pain. Int scho Res Notices, 2014. http://doi.org/10.1155/2014/523924
Money, S. (2017). Pathophysiology of trigger points in myofascial pain syndrome. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 31 (2), 158-159. http://doi.org/10.1080/15360288.2017.1298688
Penney, S. (n.d.). Foam rolling: Applying the technique of self-myofascial release. Retrieved from The National Academy of Sports Medicine: https://blog.nasm.org/foam-rolling-and-self-myofascial-release
The National Academy of Sports Medicine. (n.d.). An introduction to myofascial rolling. Retrieved from The National Academy of Sports Medicine: NASM.org