Foam Rollers: A Must use to Manage Pain

Read time 3 minutes

This blog is another opportunity to feel grateful and thank you dear Universe: You continue to bless me with recovery and overall health.  

I was introduced to a lightweight, cylindrical tube-like structure made up of foam by my Iyengar Yoga mentor –‘’ Just roll it through your pain. You need to work on the affected muscle tightness, knots, and also the surrounding tissues to reduce the sensation of muscle pain.’’.

Never did I imagine that my life would abruptly change from ordinary to rare and would leave me racing against time as pre-diagnosis I was living a cheerful life full of activities and when not at work, home, or hanging out with friends, I would be riding on my favourite roads, playing table tennis, or walking on the beach in the evening. In 2016 I got diagnosed with a rare disease, Isaacs’ Syndrome (a neuromuscular condition stemming from muscle hyperactivity), my life underwent a drastic change, following that diagnosis, and I also discovered I was suffering from Lyme disease (a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks), Glaucoma (which damages the optic nerve), and Membranous Glomerulonephritis (a progressive kidney disease).

My body went hyperactive with Symptoms that added to the current body of literature with a list of compromised Neuromuscular conditions like:

  • Muscle tightness & tension
  • altered connective Tissue properties.
  • Fasciculations
  • Cramps
  • Intense Weakness
  • Progressive decline of muscle mass and muscle strength functions
  • Reduced Mobility
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Poor Digestion and Immune functions
  • active physical and mental Stress

The mind-body relationship is very real and various chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol are released when we live in stress. The way this extrinsic stimulus unfolded evoked a negative biological response for me and my family. The stressful episode had made me vulnerable enough to create further complications to my neurological condition by further weakening the body’s internal systems, and organs and not letting me heal in spite of all the care and medicines. I had increased levels of cortisol in my clinical tests. To top it up the prolonged stress levels were causing more muscle tension and contraction which in turn caused stabbing pain. Therefore, a thorough investigation was conducted, and I was recommended minor changes in my daily dose of medicines, and mind-body therapy, and put on a regime that began by using form rollers to enhance muscle flexibility, release tension, reduce pain and spasms to prevent further injuries. My Iyengar guide mentioned ‘’if you really ask how a foam roller actually works scientifically, then we are still in the process of finding many answers however all I can say is that it works’’.

To cut a long story short, I was given a beginner guide on how this process of using a form roller could lead to benefit my core muscle issues and stimulate pain receptors that are known to send brain messages to calm the nervous system. I was prescribed to buy a smooth and denser form of roller that is gentle on the muscles and is available in a range of shapes and sizes. I did my trial and error before a suitable pick.

The results were quick and just after a couple of sessions, I realized the best way to use a roller is to:

  • Start with light pressure and slowly build up with practice.
  • Keep adjusting the pressure as it might get painful due to muscle weakness.
  • Roll muscles and avoid the joints like knees and elbows.
  • I never rolled it on my cervical spine.
  • Regular use is better.

The after-use benefits:

  • Firstly, it eased my muscle-related pain especially tension in the back and thigh region.
  • It improved my range of motion as I felt more flexible.
  • It broke the tightness which otherwise remained as a part of me though out the day.
  • I felt relaxed the rest of the day with an easiness to sit.
  • I could further continue with my exercise regime with better energy levels and further injury.
  • It worked on my core flexibility.
  • Increase blood flow.
  • It reduced tightness by stimulating receptors in the nervous system.
  • It is less time-consuming and portable due to lightweight.
  • It aided overall recovery.

Though researchers might be on their job to highlight further integrities on the subject but in my experience, it is a great low-cost and self-massaging tool that works well for my kind of requirement and has proved its place in my self-care routine to instantly ease pain in my glute, tailbone region, and hamstrings.

Having said that it doesn’t mean that a form roller is a cure to all.


The views expressed above in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.



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