It is true that the massage roller is a powerful physiotherapeutic tool to achieve a correct myofascial release. However, specialists claim that the combined application of different techniques will achieve a better result.
Myofascial release should be natural, without being forced, so in this article you will find several useful alternatives for you to stimulate more trigger points and for relaxation to be better, so you will achieve a better elimination of muscle tension that can impede your mobility and affect your mood.
What is the Foam Roller and what kind of ailments and injuries can be treated with it?
The Foam Roller is a foam roller, although nowadays it is made of other more resistant and hypoallergenic materials. These rollers have a physiotherapeutic function and a sporting function as it is believed to increase muscle performance and their ability to remain flexible and elastic.
Their use should be based on a person’s knowledge of the trigger points that form in the body when there is an overload of tension and affect the myofascial tissue, which covers all the organs of the body and keeps them healthy by carrying nutrients more efficiently
What can you treat with this massage roller?
Regardless of whether it is manual or electric, these are the main benefits:
- Myofascial tension: with the Foam Roller you achieve a natural and slow stretching of the tissue that brings nutrients to the muscle fibres and connective tissues. When the fascia, which covers the whole body, is damaged, the body’s natural movement is limited and trigger points appear, which must be stimulated to relax the tension.
- Muscle contractures: these are typical when you do exercises and physical activities to which you are not accustomed, the fibres react by grouping together incorrectly until they cause stiffness and pain. This product causes a greater and more accelerated relaxation to reduce the discomfort.
- Headaches and migraines: it should be made clear that this roller is not used on the head, but when the damage originates in the neck and shoulders, treatment with the roller can treat the migraines that have caused so much discomfort. Remember that the vertebrae connect to the base of the skull, which is why they play a role in headaches.
- Cramps and spasms: both are constant and involuntary movements of the body, which can be controlled when you massage with the Foam Roller. Applying this product relaxes the contracted fibres and is likely to improve muscle function in the short term.
- Plantar fasciitis: on the sole of the foot there is a tissue that runs from the heel to the metatarsals, by stimulating the whole area you allow the plantar arch to stop hurting. You can step on the roller and glide, although vibrating rollers work better because they don’t require you to do any additional activity, other than enjoying wellbeing.
- Lumbago: it is common that a bad posture leaves with time a generalised pain, which in the end is muscular and not skeletal, that is why it is possible that the massages with the Foam Roller are affective when the signs of this ailment begin. If the pain is chronic, it is best to seek the support of a specialist.
- Tendonitis: part of tendonitis is to generate a stiffness in the tendon fibres, a scenario that is treated with myofascial massages. The movements should be gentle at first and it is better if you use a roller with grooves or bumps so that there is a better simulation of the fingertips and palms of the hands.
- Protect the joints: keep in mind that there should be no massage directly on the joints and bones, but when you allow the muscles to relax, then the tendons and ligaments will function better, in the long run, the joints will have a greater range of motion.
- Neck pain: Gentle massages and soft rollers provide the correct stimulation of the neck tissues to relax them, thus reducing pain and muscle tension that form in that area when there is an overload of work.
- Reduces mental stress: as the body and mind are connected, a good myofascial massage will make muscle tension disappear and this feeling of wellbeing relaxes the mind. This is an ideal product for those who lead a high-stress life in the office.
What are the best alternative products to the Foam Roller?
On our website you will find a large number of highly effective products for relieving pain and muscle tension, we want you to know the relevant points of each one:
Foot massage rollers
- What is it: they are similar to the Foam Roller, but they are not cylindrical. They have a range of textures and are resistant to the different pressure you can exert with your feet, they also offer benefits through gliding to relieve injuries such as plantar fasciitis and fatigue.
- Advantages: these rollers are easy to use, quite intuitive taking into account that they are intended for domestic use and there is no risk of complications or damage due to overuse of this product.
- Disadvantages: these massagers are only made for the feet, but people have managed to find a use for the forearms and arms, as long as their build allows this roller to cover the width of the area to be massaged.
- What it is: they are non-electric devices, mostly hand-sized to be transportable, manipulable with one hand and to perform superficial stimulations on the skin until a respectable myofascial release is achieved.
- Advantages: you can stimulate any part of the body as long as you are looking for a superficial massage and not on bony structures. There is also no risk of damage or injury from overuse of this type of device on soft tissues.
- Disadvantages: its use is focused on achieving a feeling of relaxation and physical well-being, so it is not recommended for treating trigger points that are difficult to access. It is important to be aware of the potential and limitations of this type of product.
Muscle Massage Gun
- What is it: tools that use percussion massage to inhibit the signals emitted by pain receptors and reduce the discomfort associated with mild physical and soft tissue injuries. Standard and small size devices are available for self-massage by the patient.
- Advantages: They are immediately effective in masking pain from physical discomfort and provide a sense of relaxation that helps people to continue daily practices in the event of relapses in pain. They can be used on any area where there is muscle mass.
- Disadvantages: this gun inhibits pain, but does not eliminate the root cause, so it should not be used as a therapeutic tool to completely eliminate the cause of muscle soreness. However, athletes use this gun to stay active for a longer period of time.
- What it is: like the rollers, these balls are used to obtain a quick myofascial release and muscle relaxation in case of muscle tension overload injuries. They reach more complex areas, where the Foam Roller cannot reach.
- Advantages: This product usually comes in a pack of various sizes and densities, so you can start with the softer balls and then use the harder massage balls, which have a better benefit when the musculature is dense such as the back and legs.
- Disadvantages: this is a product aimed at professionals, sportsmen and physiotherapists who have a vast knowledge of hot spots, where they are located and how to treat them according to the discomfort you have at that moment.
- What it is: this is a highly resistant product, which does not bend or flex, so you can exert as much pressure as you can and this transfer can be better transmitted to the musculature. It is a pressure tool to relieve muscle knots.
- Advantages: in a single device, there can be between 10 and 12 strategically placed stimulator points so that the person can perform self-massage on one or more trigger points on the back, neck and legs, where a third person is often required.
- Disadvantages: although it is a safe and effective product, its use depends on your strength and knowledge of where and how to correctly perform the stimulations.
Electric vibrating massage ball
- What it is: It is a home use device, where people only need to hold the massager in one hand and place it on the area of the body where there is discomfort, stiffness and controllable pain. You get a relaxing experience, which can be used daily without risk.
- Advantages: although its use is usually with little pressure, you can also use it with the device on or off, so you make a better superficial myofascial release to make the muscles and connective tissues receive a greater amount of oxygen and nutrients.
- Disadvantages: It was designed for basic, practical and effective use, so its great advantage is that it offers general relaxation. For sportsmen and physiotherapists, we have products with which they can obtain additional benefits.
Electric foot massagers
- What is it: these are devices in which you put your feet or simply rest on the equipment. They require electricity because they vibrate and control the temperature in the lower extremities to improve blood circulation and prevent fluid retention.
- Advantages: they are used to eliminate swelling in the feet due to fluid accumulation and to discharge retained energy due to an overload of tension. More than a form of relaxation, they are also used for therapeutic purposes due to their effect on blood circulation.
- Disadvantages: they are foot-only devices, so you would have to be sure of the benefits you want to achieve. However, for regulating blood pressure they have no competitors on the market, this is the ideal product for your feet.
- What it is: it’s not just a simple mat to use the Foam Roller, it’s a product that in itself has an effect on blood circulation and increased body temperature. Please note that there is a recommended period of use and that you don’t need to make any additional movements, you just need to be willing to relax completely.
- Advantages: It has hundreds of highly resistant lotus flower-shaped stimulation points, which are the ones that offer all the benefits to the body’s circulatory and lymphatic system. It is easy to use and completely safe to use as long as the recommended times are respected.
- Disadvantages: it is a product that is contraindicated in people with chronic vascular conditions, skin allergies and other pathologies that should have the guidance of sports doctors and physiotherapists before use.
What are the benefits of pain relief with physiotherapy products instead of drugs and painkillers?
The great advantage of relying on massage products such as the Foam Roller, balls and stimulator hooks is that you allow the body to repair muscle tissue, stretch fascia and find relief from multiple ailments in a natural way, without the need to bombard the body with drugs that can have side effects such as making the body immune to these medications and limiting their benefits when they are really needed.
Another reason is that you become more aware of how your body works, how to take care of it and what to do to prevent physical injuries that force you to be inactive in the activities you want to do on a daily basis. A final reason is that it is more affordable to have massage tools to soothe physical aches and pains than to constantly invest in drugs and other products that achieve the same effects as the massagers described throughout this article.