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3 Quick & Effective Foam Rolling Tips

If you suffer from low back pain, you're in some serious company — it's estimated that up to 80 million Americans experience lower back pain each year. But for how common it is, low back pain can be a tricky fix. Most of the time, your back itself isn't the issue, it's simply the bearing the load of other injuries or muscular tightness. It's always best to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about chronic pain or injury, but if you've got the greenlight to exercise and stretch as normal, here's how using a foam roller can help ease some of your aches and pains.

woman foam rolling her back

Helps correct muscle imbalance

A common cause of low back pain is tightness or weakness in muscles that support the hips, core, and glutes. When these soft tissue structures are compromised, the lumbar spine has to work harder, and often absorbs excess physical stress. If you've ever tried to manage back pain by rolling your back directly and seen no improvement, it's likely that the surrounding muscles are the culprit. Rolling the glutes and thighs (plus working on building core strength) often helps ease low back pain by reducing pressure on the lumbar spine.

Supports myofascial release

Myofascial release is the process of easing tension and tightness over a broad area of muscle, often reducing localized areas of pain. If you've been to a massage therapist or physical therapist, you've likely had this type of treatment. Foam rolling is a great way to support myofascial release on your own as it allows you to target and massage a large area of tissue, gently "warming" and stretching the fascia to increase mobility and decrease pain.

woman foam rolling her back
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3/4 of Americans with chronic low back pain experience pain-related psychological distress severe enough to interfere with their daily lives

woman with back pain

Calms your nervous system

When your body isn't right, it's hard to participate in even the good stuff life brings. It's estimated that nearly ¾ of Americans with chronic low back pain experience pain-related psychological distress severe enough to interfere with their daily lives. A foam rolling practice can also have a meditative effect on the nervous system, contributing to feelings of calm and wellbeing, which can be absolutely vital when it comes to pain management.


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Go slow, and keep a calm rhythm. Visualize the sore spots dissolving with each roll.

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Take your time. Brief rolling may temporarily reduce pain, but foam rolling is most effective when muscles and knots are consistently and deeply massaged.

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Breathe in and out deeply through your nose to boost circulation and keep the parasympathetic nervous system engaged.  

Want a series of targeted foam-rolling exercises that support the low back?

Check out our Digital Mobility Deck with full foam rolling routines for conquering back pain.

graphic of men and women foam rolling