How To Ease Neck And Shoulder Pain – Tips And Simple Exercises

Did you ever wake up feeling your neck and shoulders stiff and painful? Or felt aches in that area at the end of a day. A pain-free neck, shoulders, and back is something most of us take for granted until something happens.

Without going into serious medical conditions, chronic pains, severe injuries and so on, many things can cause neck and shoulder pain. In this article, you’ll find out what are the main causes and how to ease neck and shoulder pain.

Neck And Shoulder Pain Causes

Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.

Some postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:

      • sleeping on too high pillow or a stack of pillows
      • sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
      • suddenly jerking your neck during exercise

We basically spend most of our time hunched over instead of sitting upright, and that puts more of a load on your back and your neck’s muscles.

    • Soft tissue injuries

Neck and shoulder pain is often due to an injury of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) including:

      • stiffness
      • headache
      • muscle spasms
    • Doing housework

Working overhead, you’re constantly leaning your head backwards for a long period.

It’s recommended to take a break to change positions and stretch or rotate your neck and shoulders instead of staying in the same position the whole time.

    • Playing with kids

If you have kids, it’s likely that you haven’t always been kind to your back and neck. Lifting kids, playing with them on the ground, catching a kid jumping from some higher stance….well, perfect set up for an injury.

The better way to play: Bend your knees and lift them as close as you can to your body.

    • Carrying a shoulder bag

Big bag you carry to work – loaded with stuff, day by day, may cause you neck and shoulder pain. While we carry a heavy shoulder bag, we compensate to keep our head level with the horizon, so we have our balance. As the shoulder bag is pulling you down on one side, we’re constantly using the muscles in our backs and necks to keep our head and shoulders upright. And day by day you’re constantly straining those muscles.

So switch the shoulder you carry your bag on, or, even better, use a backpack.

Tips To Prevent Neck And Shoulder Pain

  • Change the way you sleep

Your neck needs to be supported during the night. Try not to sleep on your stomach as this causes excessive strain on the neck muscles and joints, making symptoms worse. Sleep on your back or side. When sleeping on your back you might need to use two pillows, layered in a way that the bottom pillow supports your shoulders, while the upper pillow is overlapped and supporting your neck.

For sleeping on your side, have a thick enough pillow or use two, so that the pillow is tucked all the way to the shoulders supporting the neck.

Working at a computer, or spending prolonged time on a phone with a forward head posture, can put a lot of stress on your neck over hours!

When looking at your smartphone or tablet, try to bring the screen closer up in front of your face, rather than look down. In addition, when working at a computer, make sure the monitor is high enough so that the top 1/3rd of the screen is eye level.

When sitting, avoid slouching on couches or in a chair.

  • Improve your shoulder and neck motion

Most pain to the neck is caused by stiffness in the upper neck and upper back, causing abnormal strain to the mid-neck. The goal is to increase the mobility of these areas, to alleviate strain and restore natural movement to the whole neck and shoulder area.

Stretches To Relieve Shoulder And Neck Pain

1. Across-the-chest stretchacross-the-chest-stretch

This exercise helps increase flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder joint and the surrounding muscles. When doing this exercise, lower your arm if you feel any pain in your shoulder.

      1. Bring your right arm across your chest.
      2. Place it in the crease of your left elbow or use your left hand to support your arm.
      3. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
      4. Repeat on the opposite side.
      5. Do each side 3 – 5 times

2. Neck release

This exercise is a gentle way to loosen tension in your neck and shoulders.

      1. Lower your chin toward your chest. You’ll feel a stretch along the back of your neck.
      2. Gently tilt your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder.
      3. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
      4. Repeat on the opposite side.

Do each side 3–5 times.

 

4. Eagle arms spinal rolls

This exercise stretches your shoulder muscles. If the arm position is uncomfortable, do this exercise by holding opposite shoulders.

      1. While seated, extend your arms out to the sides.eagle-arms-spinal-rolls
      2. Cross your elbows in front of your body with your right arm on top.
      3. Bend your elbows, placing the backs of your forearms and hands together.
      4. Reach your right hand around to bring your palms together.
      5. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
      6. On an exhale, roll your spine as your draw your elbows in toward your chest.
      7. On an inhale, open your chest and lift your arms.
      8. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
      9. Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Seated twist

This exercise stretches your shoulders and neck. Keep your hips facing forward during this exercise. Allow the twist to start in your lower back.

    1. Sit in a chair with your ankles directly under your knees.
    2. Twist your upper body to the right, bringing the back of your left hand to your thigh.
    3. Place your right hand down wherever it’s comfortable.
    4. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
    5. Repeat on the left side.
    6. Do each side 3–5 times.

How To Stretch After a Workout

You’ve just finished your workout and feel exhausted. Yes, it’s so tempting to just hit the couch and relax. But your workout, however, isn’t quite finished. You know you should stretch. Your body needs to cool down after a workout to gradually relax, improve flexibility and slow your heart rate.

So, why is it so important, what are the benefits and how to stretch after a workout?

Do Not Skip Post-Workout Stretching

Doing post-workout stretches while your muscles are still warm enhance blood flow, which delivers more oxygen to speed up the recovery of muscles and other soft tissues, which increases our natural level of pain relievers, the beta-endorphins. It also helps extend your range of movement, and helps your body de-stress, too.

There are three specific reasons why you shouldn’t skip stretching after exercising.

  1. Stretching Improves Heart Function – Exercising speeds up your blood flowing which provides several important health benefits. It’s just as important, however, to get your heart rate back to a normal level after the workout is over. Stretching correctly will help your heart return to a normal rate in a healthy manner.
  2. Stretching Reduces Lactic Acid – The body produces lactic acid whenever you exercise, which contributes to sore, achy muscles. Stretching can help reduce the accumulation of lactic acid throughout the body. It also relaxes tense muscles.
  3. Stretching Limits Muscle and Joint Strain – Stretching in the correct way can limit the strain on your muscles and joints. It will help your muscles stay flexible and toned. This will ultimately reduce the chance of injury after exercising

How To Stretch After a Workout

Here is a stretching routine to cool down after a workout to gradually relax, improve flexibility and slow your heart rate.

1. Buttock stretch – here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your chest.buttock-stretch
  • Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
  • Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands.
  • Pull your left leg towards your chest.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

Hold for 10 to 15 seconds each leg.

2. Hamstring stretch

  • Lie on your back and raise your right leg.
  • Hold your right leg with both hands, below your knee.
  • Keeping your left leg bent with your foot on the floor, pull your right leg towards you keeping it straight.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

Hold for 10 to 15 seconds each leg.

 

3. Thigh stretch

  • Lie on your right side.thigh-stretch
  • Grab the top of your left foot and gently pull your heel towards your left buttock to stretch the front of the thigh.
  • Keep your knees touching.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hold for 10 to 15 seconds each leg.

4. 90-90

  • Sit on the floor with the right leg bent at a 90-degree angle, the outside of the right leg on the floor and thigh extending straight forward from right hip. Position the left thigh at a 90-degree angle from the right thigh, pointing straight to the left, with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle and inside of the leg on the floor.
  • Placing hands lightly on the floor on either side of the right leg, gently lean forward over the right leg. Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Sit up straight then lean back, placing hands lightly on the floor behind hips. Lean back on glutes to flip legs over to the other side, so the left leg is in a 90-degree angle in front of the body and the right leg is in a 90-degree angle extending out to the side.
  • Placing hands lightly on the floor on either side of the left leg, and gently lean forward over. Hold for 2 seconds.

Repeat for 2 minutes.

5. Inner thigh stretchinner-thigh-stretch

  • Sit down with your back straight and your legs bent.
  • Put the soles of your feet together.
  • Holding on to your feet, try to lower your knees towards the floor.

Hold for 10 to 15 seconds

6. Shoulder CARS

  • Start standing with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides.
  • Slowly lift the left arm (straight with fingers engaged) forward in front of the body, thumb facing up. Once it’s extended straight overhead, rotate palm to face away from the body and keep rotating arm back and down.
  • Keep rotating the arm and palm until the palm faces the ceiling, trying to rotate until the thumb points up and palm up faces away from the body.
  • Pause, then reverse the direction to slowly return to start.

Repeat for 1 minutes per arm.

7. Standing Straddle

  • Stand with feet wide and hands-on-hips, legs are straight but not locked.
  • Hinge at the hips with a flat back, lowering until torso is about parallel to the ground.
  • Breathe slowly, trying to lower torso on each exhale.

Hold for 15 sec per side. Repeat 3 times

8. Cat-cow

  • Start on hands and knees with shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.
  • Inhale and drop your belly and lift the tailbone to lower into cow pose, pulling shoulder blades together and gazing up.
  • Exhale to drop your head and tailbone and round the spine toward the ceiling for cat pose.

Repeat for 2 minutes.

Note

Depending on workout you have, adjust post-workout stretches. Not all muscles need to be stretched after the workout. Focus on hitting only those areas that are exceptionally tight from the workout.

Static stretching is only part of a good cool-down routine. Along with stretching, put some light walking and foam-rolling at the end of your workout.

Exercises To Reduce Lower Back Pain

You know that terrible pain you feel each time you bend over or stand up. That ache that shoots through your lower back. In most cases the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.

Fortunately, you can learn simple exercises to reduce lower back pain. But first off let’s see what are the symptoms of lower back pain and in which cases to immediately call your doctor.

Symptoms of lower back pain

Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Pain that improves with reclining.

When To See a Doctor

Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within a few weeks. If yours doesn’t improve in that time, see your doctor.

Especially, if your back pain:

  • Is accompanied by fever
  • Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury
  • Is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
  • Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
  • Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss

please immediately call your doctor!

Exercises That Can Reduce Lower Back Pain

As said above, most cases aren’t caused by a serious problem and get better on their own within a few weeks. These 4 exercises can reduce lower back pain:

1. Knees to Chest

Start doing the knees’-to-chest stretch with one leg only. Of course, start slowly. If, after a few days, you’re performing it without pain, it’s likely time to advance to lifting both legs. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees’ bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Gently raise one bent knee up enough so you can grasp your lower leg with both hands. Interlaceknee-to-chest-exercise your fingers just under the knee.
  • If you’re doing the two-legged version, bring one leg up and then the other. Because taking both up at the same time takes a lot of abdominal strength, starting with one and then quickly following with the other is likely safer, especially for vulnerable backs.
  • As with the single-legged version, if you are taking both up at the same time, interlace your fingers or clasp your wrists between the lower legs, just below the knees’.
  • Gently pull your bent knee or knees’ toward your trunk, using your hands.
  • While you’re pulling, try to relax your legs, pelvis and lower back as much as you can. The knees’-to-chest better reaches low back muscles when used passively.
  • Hold for a few seconds.
  • Return your leg to the floor.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Do the stretch about 10 to 15 times, one or two times per day or as needed.

2. Pelvic tilt – core stability

Pelvic tilts build strength in your abdominal muscles, which helps relieve pain and tightness in your lower back. They also have a beneficial effect on your glutes and hamstrings.

To do a pelvic tilt, follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back with both knees’ bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor.
  • Breathe normally, holding this position for up to 10 seconds.
  • Release and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  • Do 1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions.

3. One Leg Stand

To perform this exercise position yourself behind a chair or next to something stable.

  • Hold on to the chair back with both hands.
  • Lift one leg off the ground, slowly.
  • Maintain your balance while standing on one leg for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times. Try to increase the time spent standing on one leg.
  • Perform with opposite leg.

4. Trunk rotation stretch

  • Start in a supine position (lying on back) on an exercise mat.
  • Keep your knees’ bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Maintain your shoulders and upper body firmly against the floor.trunk-rotation-exercise
  • Outstretch your arms and press them into the floor to help with balance during the movement.
  • Engage/tighten the abdominal muscles.
  • Slowly rotate the knees’ to one side with control, working within your range of motion. Your feet will shift but remain on the floor.
  • Hold the position for 3–5 seconds.
  • Engage/tighten the abdominal muscles to move your legs to the opposite side.
  • Hold for another 3–5 seconds.
  • Stay focused and breathe normally through the exercise.
  • Repeat the exercise for a determined amount of reps, such as 10 times on each side.

Hot and cold packs

Some people find that heat (such as a hot bath or a hot water bottle placed on the affected area) helps to ease the pain when back pain first starts.

Cold (such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables) on the painful area can also help in the short term. However, do not put ice directly on your skin, as it might cause a cold burn. Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth or towel first.

Another option is to alternate between hot and cold using ice packs and a hot water bottle. Hot and cold compression packs can be bought at most pharmacies.

Relax and stay positive

Trying to relax is a crucial part of easing the pain as muscle tension caused by worrying about your condition may make things worse.

Why Is Stretching Important

We’ve all heard it so many times “Do not forget to stretch!” Many people know that stretching before and after physical activity is important, but stretching every day regardless of physical activity is important as well.

In this article you’ll find out why is stretching important.

Importance Of Stretching

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury.

Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, flexible and have several health benefits.

stretching

Benefits Of Stretching For The Body

  • Increased Flexibility and Joint Range of Motion

Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.

 

  • Improved Circulation

Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings oxygen and nutrients and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you’ve had any muscle injuries.

  • Better Posture

Tight muscles can cause poor posture. Specifically, the muscles of the chest, back (both lower and upper), and hips can cause poor posture if they are tight. Many of us spend at least a portion of our day sitting at a computer or looking at a phone or tablet. The position that is typical for these activities (rounded shoulders and forward head) is a position of poor posture.

Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

  • Stretching Can Prevent Injury

If you stretch a muscle too far, it will become strained or torn. If you stretch and increase the range in which a muscle can move, the likelihood of injuring decreases. Stretching before physical activity, specifically, helps prevent injury by bringing blood flow to the muscles, warming them up, and decreasing any tightness they might have to prevent a strain or a tear.

  • Improves Range Of Motion

As we age, our joints lose range of motion. We can counteract this by stretching regularly. Even if a range of motion in some joints is limited, stretching can help to improve this.

  • Reduces Soreness

As said before, stretching improves blood circulation. An increased flow of oxygen-enriched blood and nutrient supply helps reduce soreness.

  • Stretching Can Decrease Back Pain.

This somewhat goes hand in hand with posture. If we have poor posture in the upper back, the lower back compensates and can develop pain. Also, if we have tight hamstrings or hip flexors, the lower back compensates and can develop pain.

Benefits of Stretching for the Mind

  • Calmed Mind

Stretching provides your mind with a mental break. It allows you to recharge and refresh the blood flow throughout your body, resulting in a calmer and more peaceful mindset.

  • Releases Tension

Many individuals carry stress in their muscles. When feeling overwhelmed, muscles tighten acting as a defensive strategy. The more you stretch, the less tense muscles will be. Stretching is a very effective form of stress management

  • Increases Energy

Because stretching allows an increased blood and nutrient flow throughout the body, not only will you feel refreshed, but also your energy levels will be increased resulting in an improved sense of invigoration.stretching

Important Notes

Stretching Is Not A Warm-Up Activity

Stretching with cold muscles may result in injury. Stretching is most effective when muscles are warm. It is best to stretch after a small bout of physical activity. If you would like to stretch before a vigorous workout, try walking or running a bit to warm up your muscles first, next you may start stretching, and then you may begin your workout.

Focus on muscles that are tight

Tight muscles are a result of soreness and stress. When muscles become tight, it is important to pay attention to these muscles first so that blood flow increases and tension is reduced. Once these previously tense muscles are stretched, movement becomes more fluid-like and soreness is reduced.

Reduce Bouncing

Bouncing while stretching may slightly tear muscles which may lead to scar tissue which further tighten the muscle leading to a decreased flexibility and increased soreness. Stretches should be held for about 15-60 seconds and repeated three or four times. The amount of time spent holding stretches depends on how sore you are and which muscles you want to focus on specifically.

Stretch at least 2-3 days per week for at least 10 minutes a day

Stretching does not need to be time-consuming. If you take 10 minutes out of your day to stretch and try to do so at least 2-3 days a week you will achieve the most benefits. If you stretch on an irregular schedule, your body will not be able to maintain a consistent range of motion. Because stretching increases your range of motion, it is important to get in the habit of stretching often in order to increase flexibility.

 

How To Increase Back Flexibility – Easy Exercises

More and more people are having back problems, to be precise decreased back flexibility. Are you one of them? This article will give you the answers you most probably have – why this happens, how to increase back flexibility, exercises that will certainly help you – awesome exercises to help loosen tight backs and improve back flexibility.

Common Causes Of Decreased Back flexibility

  • Poor Seated Posture
  • Sitting For Long Periods Of Time
  • Tight Hamstrings and/or Glutes
  • Insufficient mobility exercises

Obviously sitting for long periods of time (for example, working on the computer) is our present reality. And let’s be honest, the majority of us are sitting with our back band. Therefore, back muscles weaken. But that’s my job! you might say. Yes, I know, but we can hold our back with regular exercises which won’t take you more than 10 minutes a day,

5 Back Exercises To Help Improve Back Flexibility

1. Cat-Cow Pose

This exercise is taken from the classic yoga textbook, and for a good reason. The Cat-Cow Pose helps stimulate and activate the spine and surrounding muscles, stretching the back, neck and shoulders. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start kneeling down with your knees below your hips, and hands below your shoulders
  • Form the ‘tabletop’ position, with a flat, straight back and neutral neck position
  • As you inhale, lift your sitting bones allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward.
  • As you exhale, press the floor away with hands and knees, and round your spine, like an angry cat. That’s one breath cycle.cat-cow-pose-exercise

Do not rush, as you fully inhale hold that pose for 5seconds, slowly exhale and as you’ve exhaled all the air in your lungs, remain that pose for 5 seconds. Repeat at least 5 times.

 

2. Sphinx Pose

  • Lie on your stomach, place elbows underneath shoulders, forearms on the ground.
  • Pull your chest up as you press shoulders down and together while lengthening through your tailbone. Make sure all 10 toes are on the ground.
  • Breathe length between each vertebra from the tailbone to the crown of your head.sphinx-pose-exercise
  • Hold this pose for five deep breaths. Short pause, then repeat.

 

3. Bridge Pose

This exercise is highly recommended by fitness instructors and physical therapists especially to people having lower back problems but it’s also great for abs and glutes.

  • Lie on the back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, arms extended by your side;
  • Pushing through your feet and bracing your core, raise your bottom of the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing your glutes at the top;
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.bridge-exercise

 

4. Cobra Pose

  • Lay flat on the mat with their stomach and place their hands under the shoulders at the same time ensuring that the thighs are parallel to each other and elbows placed near your body. Then ensure that the toes are firmly positioned on the ground so as to act as supporters.
  • Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor.
  • On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks.
  • Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
  • Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.cobra-pose-exercise

 

5. Supine Spine Twist

  • Lie down on a mat, facing to ceiling
  • Place your arms directly to the side to help stabilize your body
  • Bring your knees-up, creating a right angle with your legs
  • Slowly lower both legs to one side, keeping your back flat on the ground and head facing upwards
  • Relax the legs to the side, before slowly lifting back to the middle and repeating on the other sidesupine-spine-twist-exercise

How Often To Do These Exercise

Preferably every day. It’ll take you about 10-15 minute. If you can do them every day then do the complete series at least three times a week.

When it comes to the question of speed in performing these exercises keep in mind that quality, proper performing is essential. Do not rush. Stay focused.

Benefits Of Increased Back Flexibility

  • Less pain
  • Fewer injuries. Once you develop strength and flexibility in your body you’ll be able to withstand more physical stress.
  • Improved posture and balance
  • Greater strength
  • Improved physical performance.

Be Patient

Unfortunately I can’t tell you that you’ll feel results after you do these exercises once. It wouldn’t be true. The truth is that it takes time, consistency and patience. But it’s worth it. Don’t give up!

How To Use A Foam Roller – Why And How

Foam rolling has become one of the most popular activities among athletes and everyone who work out as a way to better prepare for upcoming physical activity, improve performance, increase mobility and a range of motions, as well as speed recovery from injuries.

Foam rolling is a type of massage, where instead of human touch, a foam roller is used. In this article, I’ll explain why should we use, and how to use a foam roller.

Glance At Anatomy

All the muscles in our body are connected with fascia which surrounds the tissue, nerves, organs and all other structures in our body. But fascia can become unhealthy by overuse, injury or even by every day repetitive movement.

Foam roller serves to keep fascia healthy, by circulating fresh, oxygenated blood through it.

The healthier the fascia is, the better your moves are and will be.

Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller

I can’t say enough good things about the benefits of regularly using a foam roller. It’s like your own (and portable) masseuse, and it’s much less expensive too. Foam roller is a perfect tool for easing muscle tension and inflammation, and can improve your flexibility and range of motion.

Foam roller can help to:

  • increase flexibility
  • enhance performance
  • increase range of motion
  • diminish aches and pains
  • accelerate recovery

While foam rolling, muscles and fascia get compressed, and those compress and release movements lead to improved circulation, releasing tension, faster recovery, improved sports performance and pain relief.

How To Use It

  • Simply taking the time to address one area (e.g. calf, hamstring, one side of your lower back…) will improve your movement;
  • foam-rollerWhen selecting a muscle to roll, for example, calf, start with simple rolling on one leg. Keep your balance on your hands and your other leg. Placing your other leg on it will increase compression. Don’t forget the sides, both external and internal. Just move your body a bit to one side, roll on the external side, make a few passes and then move to the other side and roll that calf on the inner side. After that, keep that pressure and do some ankle rotations, reversing sides. This is a great way to release the tension in that calf. Then switch legs and repeat.

Three general techniques are:

  • Rolling – roll back and forth the muscle you chose to work. Always start from the ground up. Start with rolling your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, then your back. You can also work on additional spots or specific problem area.
    • Breathe deeply – pay attention to breathing! The key to rolling is to breathe deeply and slowly. This will remind you to move slowly and to relax a muscle you roll. Remember that consistency is better than intensity. Rolling out is recommended three to five times a week, preferably before and after activity. Rolling regularly is the best. Don’t roll just when you ache.
  • Spans – when you hit a tender area wave. Wave side to side until you feel relief.
  • Stretching – compress the spot while stretching the muscle to full range of motion (e.g place a roller under your back below your shoulders, turn to the side and move your arm, extend it all the way). This pin and stretch motion will increase the circulation and mobility.foam-roller

How many passes to make?

There is no right or wrong number. Make as many passes as you need to relax a muscle. Start with five, eight even ten or more, if you need it. Note: there is a tendency to tighten a muscle as you compress it. Give yourself a few seconds, focus on relaxing a muscle and don’t forget to breathe, slowly and deeply. Why? As said above, to increase circulation and keep muscles and fascia healthy by circulating fresh, oxygenated blood through it.

And remember to roll your soft tissue, not your bones or joints. Move up and down (rolling).

Do Not Be Worried If You Feel Some Initial Discomfort

People that are new to rolling may discover some initial discomfort. This is similar to the pain that, at moments, occurs during a massage. Most of us have experienced some soreness when pressure is put on tender muscles and tensed areas. You can think of foam rolling the same way. When you compress sensory receptors you can feel uncomfortable. But this is nothing to be worried about, it’s completely normal and with a little practice, the process becomes enjoyable.

When you hit a sore spot, roll around it at first. Foam rolling is not causing the pain, but removing the pain.

But if you had an injury before or during a workout, such as a sprain, have swelling, redness and sharp pain, please call your doctor or call someone to help you to go to the hospital.

Give Yourself A Massage

Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that allows you to alleviate tightness or trigger points – a focused spot of tight muscle, also known as muscle knots, by using this piece of equipment.

Foam rolling can be performed before and after your workouts. Before exercise, rolling will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion and circulation (blood flow). This can help you move better during your workout and protect you from injury.

foam-roller

Foam rolling post-workout is a great way to enhance recovery. Focus on all the major muscles you just worked, with an extra emphasis on the areas that feel problematic. By stimulating blood flow in affected areas, you’ll dramatically increase oxygen to your sore muscle fibres and reduce recovery time. In fact, most elite athletes get massages regularly for this reason. You can enjoy many of the same benefits at home with a foam roller.

Not only that using a foam roller is beneficial before and after a workout, but you can use it whenever you feel tensed and want to relax.