I’m sure we all love the occasional massage…. someone else to find the tension points in your body and release the knots that keeps our muscles from functioning as well as they should. However, our pocketbooks don’t love the hefty price tag that comes with getting a massage as often as we need. Instead, I have a cheap and easy way to get your daily massage. It costs a one-time fee of about $25, and will take up 10 minutes of your time at home.
One of the easiest ways to achieve “tension release” in a particular muscle is by doing something called foam rolling. The technical term for this technique is called “self-myofascial release”. The name is quite descriptive, as it actually describes the act of releasing your fascia on your own. Think of it this way: when you have a knot in a muscle, it creates a shortening of the muscle, which then decreases the efficiency of that particular muscle. A tight muscle can affect joint positions. It can also create pain around the joint due to the fact that other, less efficient muscles, are taking over for the muscle that isn’t doing its job.
Foam rolling is a simple technique to help get the knot, or tension points, out of a muscle. WARNING: it can be very painful to foam roll certain parts of the body. The goal when rolling is to find the tender or painful spot in the muscle, and hold the pressure in this position. Ideally we hold for 20 to 30 seconds as we breathe and relax into the tension. The more often you foam roll, the less painful the tender spots become.
Here are some amazing results: I’ve had clients with knee pain have it virtually disappear from regular foam rolling of the IT band/ quadriceps. Other clients with shoulder pain feel immediate release from foam rolling the latissimus dorsi. Today I want to focus on the inner thighs; a commonly overlooked area of the body that can actually impact hip alignment, knee positioning and back pain.
The inner thighs, or adductors, get shortened from sitting all day long. Also when driving, one adductor (the right leg) tends to do a lot more work than the other, especially when driving in stop and go traffic. The imbalance and tightness in these muscles can impact the pelvis position and mobility in the hip joint. I am one of those people who can feel tremendous results from a simple roll on the inner thighs. After 5 minutes of attention on this body part, my lower back will feel loser, my hips move easier and I feel lighter in my walk.
Here is the recommended technique for foam rolling the inner thighs. Be cautious if this is your first time- some clients push too hard into the roller and end up with some bruising. Attempt to relax into the roller, and breathe through any pain.
Adductor (inner-thigh) Foam Rolling:
1. Lie face down and extend one leg out to the side and on top of the roller. Place the foam roller parallel to the torso, and perpendicular to the leg out to the side.
2. Find the inner thigh muscle, and roll from the top of the leg by the pubic bone, to the top of the knee joint. Do NOT roll over the knee joint.
3. Stop and hold on any tender spots for 10 to 30 seconds. Attempt to relax your body into the roller. Move to the next tender spot and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
If you feel tender spots while rolling, then it means your body NEEDS this rolling! Attempt to do this every day and pay close attention to how you feel after. You may not feel something the first day but in time you should notice a more flexible legs and hips, and hopefully even a decrease in any pain you’re experiencing.
Stay tuned for more foam rolling exercises and tips. A roll a day keeps the pain away! At least that’s what this “posture geek” says…
PS If you haven’t purchased a roller yet, here is the best place to get one.