Chronic Tightness?? Why all that foam rolling isn’t helping.

If you’re an active person and have ever dealt with chronic pain or tightness and muscle knots, then you have probably also foam rolled. You likely went to Dr. Google, you saw other people doing it, or you have been told by a fitness instructor, personal trainer, PT, or Chiropractor to “roll it out.” This is sadly a pretty common way to “treat” tightness and/or pain.

And too many people are going about it all wrong!

“What are your thoughts on foam rolling?”

I get this question ALL THE TIME from my clients, who have in the past tried to manage their symptoms with this unsuccessfully, and my response is this…

There is a reason you are foam rolling – a problem is present that is resulting in that tightness or pain, and when we solve that PROBLEM then foam rolling becomes unnecessary.

You see, rolling it out is only treating the symptoms. It hopefully gives you temporary relief (or else why are you doing it?) but it never makes the problem go away completely. It will never be the ONE things that helps you get down to the root cause of the problem and fix it all.

So what’s the PROBLEM??

There could be lots of problems going on but what it comes down to is there is compensation happening and muscle imbalances present that leads to the feeling of tightness and/or pain. This can happen after an injury (but was likely already present to cause said injury), from repetitive daily habits where we favor one side or one position too long, doing your workouts incorrectly or with poor form, or just from a sedentary lifestyle (ANYONE with a desk job falls into this).

A great example of this is with runners. I treat a lot of runners and most of them complain of hip flexor tightness or IT band and knee pain. And when we correct the problem like poor running form, hip weakness, or postural alignment all of their “tightness” goes away and in just a few weeks they leave my clinic forgetting what a foam roller is. We are able to reduce the stress placed on their hips and IT bands that was causing them to be overworked and become tight.

My clients not only leave with relief but they are now better equipped to manage their symptoms in the future (on their own) if they do appear and they have much fewer injuries in the future.

So I challenge you to question WHY you are doing what you are doing. Maybe it’s foam rolling, maybe it’s stretching constantly, maybe it’s getting a massage…could this all be unnecessary if we just fixed the problem??

The answer is likely a big YES! Save yourself from the torture and the time wasted mindlessly rolling away and get the help you need. Just rolling it out will NOT fix it and you likely need expert advice to get to the root cause of the problem and find out WHY you are tight in the first place.
You also sound like you’d be a great candidate for Pilates, check out my blog [Benefits of Pilates] to find out why.

For more information or tips on how to stop foam rolling forever, click here to fill out a form and request to speak with an expert PT for FREE!

Expert Physical Therapist in Wheat Ridge

About The Author

Casey Murphy

Dr. Casey Murphy is the Founder of Wheat Ridge’s Leading Specialist Physical Therapy Practice for People in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s+, who want to keep healthy and active. You may know of Casey for her ability to keep people free from painkillers, injections, and surgery. Her mission is to keep people from being sidelined from life and get them back to doing the things they love. Dr. Murphy is also certified in Pilates and teaches rehab Pilates classes as well as utilizes her training to assist in recovery and regaining motor control and stability.