Foam rolling for low back pain is more than just foam rolling the low back (crazy right!)! Before we get into the details, first things first… what’s with foam rolling anyway?
Foam rollers are everywhere! Almost every gym or fitness facility has a foam roller in it now. I recommend them to all my chiropractic patients.
I use a foam roller nearly every day for my personal health and love teaching patients how to utilize this wonderful “foam cylinder of healing” to assist getting them out of pain and back to being active!
What exactly does a foam roller do? Well, nobody exactly knows! We can drive a robot on Mars but we don’t know exactly what rolling on a piece of foam does to our body… Come on science!
So… what do we know? We at least know that foam rolling can help improve our mobility (even if temporarily) which can help us move and exercise more efficiently.
I also think it pairs up great with a chiropractic adjustment or manual therapy by helping to maintain the results after treatment and between visits. This is why all my chiropractic patients in Vancouver receive exercises or stretches alongside their treatment!
As a chiropractor in Vancouver WA who works daily with people experiencing low back pain, I think one of the biggest things to love about foam rolling is it’s a great way to check-in with your body!
I personally foam roll almost daily, why? Because it’s easy to do and since I used to have a lot of low back pain in my past stemming from SUPER tight hips. I know that if I hit the foam roller and all of a sudden there is a lot of tension and tenderness in my hips… then it’s time to practice my mobility a little more!
As a chiropractor, I have an active job and that quick foam roller “check-in” could possibly save me from future low back pain!
Now, let’s talk about how and where to foam roll.
Foam Rolling The Hips
Your hips are closely linked to your low back health. The hips should be mobile, they’re ball and socket joints for a reason! But, what happens is they love to tighten up. Once those hips tighten up and mobility is decreased, it can cause increased stress to the low back. Not good!
Foam Rolling The Adductors
The adductors (inside of your thighs) are long muscles that (for the most part) attach the femur to the pelvis. They can have an influence on the hips, pelvis and… you guessed it, your low back!
Foam Rolling The Quads
The quads are a must to start foam rolling! Especially when everyone spends so much time sitting these days. Excessive sitting can cause the anterior chain to have a lot of tightness and a quick foam roll can let you know what areas need more attention!
Foam Rolling The Low Back
The low back… Finally! In this video (Instagram post) we get into actual foam rolling the low back. For many of my chiropractic patients experiencing moderate to high levels of low back pain, this could be very intense. For that reason, I recommend starting out against the wall as shown in the video.
When I’m working with someone with low back pain, I often manipulate their low back and use a little more manual therapy to help decrease low back tightness. Giving the foam roller as homework between visits can really help keep the progress made in the appointment.
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Should you foam roll your low back? . There are a couple of big considerations to keep in mind. The curvature of your low back, which is different than the mid back. This can predispose you to overextension (we don’t like that) . Also, RISK VS REWARD. Have you had a lot of movement based low back pain? If so, are you going to get that much out of foam rolling this area? Also, can you or your client do so while maintaining a good position?… because it can be difficult for most people I see . Here are a few things you can try: ✅ hold the hamstrings method ✅ keeping a tight core avoiding overextension (not for most people) ✅use a wall which is my favorite ✅ choose something else . BEST ADVICE? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, if you can foam roll your low back with good form and it makes you feel god, great go for it. If you feel uncomfortable or even no change, then there are probably other things you can and should do instead!
Hip Flexor Stretch
Here’s a little bonus! Even though it’s not actual foam rolling, a foam roller can be a great piece of equipment to help assist with other things… like stretching your hip flexors!
If you found this helpful and you’re looking to get rid of some pain and improve your health, making a chiropractic appointment is a great first step!
As a matter of fact, you can even click right HERE and schedule an appointment online. Free Consultations are a great first step!