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Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, helps release muscle tension by making the top layers of tissues more flexible. “There’s a layer of tissue called fascia that lies on top of the muscles and connects your muscle groups. Typically what happens is that tight, sensitive trigger points develop in the fascia. Using the foam roller helps release those points and soft tissue adhesions.” Pairing foam roller exercises with stretches will open the unrestricted tissues, and you might just find yourself moving more freely and your pain relieved.
Foam rolling also helps increase your range of motion because the muscles around your joints aren't so tight. Most trainers recommend you foam roll before you exercise to wake up the joints and muscles as well as post-workout to prevent soreness.
One word of caution: If your pain is sharp or tingling, lasts more than a week, or started after some kind of traumatic incident, see your doctor. A doctor can advise about more serious muscular or skeletal injuries while a physical therapist can analyze your movement to pinpoint the problem. “If your pain is achy, comes and goes, goes away, or feels better with exercise, those are signs it’s an issue with tightness in soft tissue that’s restricting your mobility—and foam rolling can help.
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