Add a Secret Weapon to your Home Sports Medicine Arsenal
If sports, work and activity related aches and pains have got you down, try foam rolling. It’s a cheap, convenient tool to help relieve sore, achy body parts, such as the shoulders, hamstrings, knees, calves and back. And if done correctly, it really helps!
Most overuse pain is due to muscle irritation and spasm, which results in painful muscles that can easily be re-aggravated with basic day-to-day activity. For instance, weakened stability in the hip joint can cause your IT band to overcompensate during exercise, leading to fairly significant knee pain that won’t go away. Another common issue is shoulder pain due to exercise or poor posture from sitting at a desk all day.
These types of pain can be alleviated – and even prevented – with foam rolling. The secret behind the effectiveness of foam rolling in alleviating pain lies in the benefits of manual muscle release or deep tissue massage. When pressure is applied directly to the painful area it causes the muscle to relax, which results in pain relief.
It can cost more than $100 an hour for a deep tissue massage from an experienced and licensed massage therapist. Foam rolling allows you to get similar results just by doing simple exercises at home. Additionally, it will only cost you an initial $20-30 for the foam roller device itself. What’s more, the results can be remarkable and offer significant pain relief. If you’ve not tried foam rolling, I’d highly recommend you invest the time in learning more about it. Foam rollers [as pictured above] come in in many shapes and sizes can be readily purchased online or at sporting goods stores. A simple Google or YouTube search should give you an idea of the types of exercises and positions to work on at home. As always, consult your physician or a sports medicine doctor if you have any questions or concerns in starting this type of home therapy regimen. My bet is that this becomes your “go to” for alleviating sore muscles.
Best of luck!
Dr. Matthew Boes is a fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He serves as team physician for the NC State University football team. His areas of expertise include sports medicine, shoulder arthroscopy, knee arthroscopy and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder, elbow and knee. For more information on Dr. Boes click here.