Roll Forth in Good Health, says Apex Physical Therapist

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Injury Prevention, Physical Therapy | 1 comment

For physical therapists Brock Monger and Karin Monger (co-owners of Apex Physical Therapy) years of experience with active and athletic clients has proven that there’s often a difference between the location of pain or an injury and its cause.

“I’ll see runners in the clinic for knee pain who don’t know that, for instance, the side of their leg is tender to the touch,” said Brock. “The soreness and tightness on the side of their leg – the knot, or myofascial adhesion – is altering the joint mechanics of the knee, which leads to the knee pain.”

It’s all part of the kinetic chain, Brock said – how one musculoskeletal deficiency (e.g., pain or tightness) can alter the way muscles and joints work throughout the entire body. Untreated, such tightness can restrict motion and cause imbalances that can throw off an athlete’s training regimen, preventing them from improving or even participating in the activities they most enjoy.

“Active people often see general soreness as simply the price of working hard,” Karin said. “But such soreness, if left untreated, can actually inhibit progress through restricted motion and other imbalances. At times, this can lead to overuse injuries.”

Enter the foam roller, a simple yet effective way athletes can self-treat potential problem areas by relaxing and releasing tight muscles and other soft tissues.

Foam Roller ExerciseThe Foam Roller

Though they come in a variety of sizes, foam rollers are foam cylinders typically 1 to 3 feet long and about 6 inches in diameter. According to Karin, these relatively inexpensive tools have existed for years within physical therapy circles until the last decade or so, when they grabbed a more mainstream following.

This isn’t a health fad, however. The effectiveness of foam rollers is based on the concept of myofascial release, a soft-tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain.

Such release is accomplished as, utilizing his or her own body weight, one slowly rolls the roam roller under each muscle group in back-and-forth “strokes” five to 15 times. Tight and tender areas may require more strokes over the roller, perhaps stopping and holding pressure on tender areas for periods of 30 to 60 seconds, if needed.

The team at Apex PT sees such treatment can benefit people who enjoy walking, running, cycling, swimming – pretty much any physical activity people enjoy on a regular basis.

Foam Roller Exercise

“With a foam roller, you can do self-massage at your own convenience,” Brock said. “This really helps bridge the gap between physical therapy and massage visits, and it’s safe for use by the active adult who understands his or her own body and who is not acutely injured.”

(Click here to access foam roller techniques to treat postural strain. For techniques to treat tightness and soreness from repetitive exercise activities like running, cycling, walking, etc., click here.)

Such regular self-treatments can offer a number of benefits:

  • Proactively prevent muscular tightness, pain and overuse injuries.
  • Foam roller treatments can assist in and expedite recovery between activities, workouts and competition.
  • Treatments can decrease muscle soreness from training.
  • Specific foam-roller strategies and/or positions can reduce postural strain, or undo the flex positioning of the spine after sitting, slouching or bending for long periods.

Despite its simplicity and such a multitude of benefits, Brock points out that foam rollers are to be used for the treatment of tightness and soreness, not an acute (recent) injury. As such, he offers the following Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do consult or physical therapist or personal physician if you’re ever in doubt if you should use a foam roller and how to properly use such a tool.
  • Don’t roll over bony areas of the body repeatedly.
  • Don’t use a foam roller if doing so causes excessive pain.
  • Don’t roll over a bruised area or an area where you recently experienced an injury.

“Roll Toward Prevention” Workshop – FREE

Long-time believers in educating the community they serve, Brock and the Apex Physical Therapy team will offer a free workshop, titled “Roll Toward Prevention,” on the proper (and safe) use of foam rollers for injury prevention. The workshop will be held Wednesday, August 13th, 6:30 p.m. at the Apex Physical Therapy clinic – 230 SW 5th St. in Madras.

“The class will be ideal for those who are active in exercises such as cycling, running, walking, cross fit, weight lifting, swimming, etc.,” Brock said. “We will approach methods and strategies for using a foam roller to reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries that would hamper one’s ability to participate in the activities they enjoy.”

Participants at the workshop will learn specific foam roller exercises and stretches and will receive take-home handouts with images and instructions. There will be drawings for foam rolls from Apex as well as other fitness related giveaways.

For more information and to reserve a spot for this workshop, call us any time at Apex Physical Therapy – 541-475-1218.

One Comment

  1. Would have loved to take in workshop tonight but have another commitment that we can’t cancel out of. Maybe another time?