A foam roller can be your bad back’s best friend – here’s why

woman using a foam roller to stretch her back
fotoliza/Shutterstock

Foam rollers have been available in gyms and physical therapy offices since the ’80s, but recently, they’ve exploded in popularity. Every fitness pro and Instagram influencer talks about their amazing benefits, and many casual gym-goers have invested in them. Rollers relieve back pain, reduce muscle tension, and more by massaging the tense, knotted muscles. Ahead, we break down all there is to know about foam rollers, how they help with back pain, and what else they can do for you.

Why is everyone so obsessed with foam rollers?

Foam rollers are lightweight cylinders made of foam that you can use to perform a deep tissue massage on yourself. The use of foam rollers in the health and wellness industries has skyrocketed in the past few years for good reason. Rollers have both mind and body benefits, relieving tension and reducing stress. Foam rollers aren’t just for a post-exercise stretch. You can also use them to reduce soreness and pain from sitting all day long, as they are especially effective at providing lower back pain relief.

Back pain relief

Foam rolling can alleviate your lower back pain and tightness as long as you use it properly. Otherwise, you may injure yourself further. For best results, continue to stretch your back three or four times a week, even if your symptoms improve.

To relieve back pain, lay the roller vertically under your back aligned with your spine. Then, slowly roll the foam roller side to side. You can also use the roller horizontally, but be sure to support your lower back with your hands or a small block. Lie on your back with the roller horizontally below your low back. Bend your knees and lift your legs toward your chest. Gently rock to the right, lifting your left side off the roller. Hold the position for a few seconds, then tilt to the left. Repeat this a few times for lower back relief.

You may want to further try out some of our foam roller exercises for back-pain.

woman stretching with foam roller
BAZA Production/Shutterstock

Other benefits

Foam rollers have tons of other advantages across your body, relieving muscle pain, improving range of motion, enhancing exercise routines, and promoting relaxation.

Exercise

Foam rollers can complement a variety of exercise routines, but they are most often used during yoga and pilates. The roller adds extra difficulty to regular exercise moves, and the instability created by the roller promotes balance, increases strength, and challenges the core. You can also stretch with the foam roller to improve your flexibility and range of motion.

Reduce muscle pain

In addition to alleviating a sore back, foam rolling can be great for other sore muscles, as it reduces inflammation and pain. Anecdotally, people who foam roll consistently notice a decrease in delayed muscle soreness post-exercise when compared to those who don’t roll.

Improve your range of motion

Using a foam roller can also increase your range of motion, which helps with flexibility and physical performance. For best results, stretch and foam roll after every workout and see the results for yourself.

Relax

A lot of people find foam rolling to be a relaxing activity. Self-massaging can help you to feel calmer, releasing tension from the mind and body. After a long day of work, consider rolling for ten to fifteen minutes for a good screen-free decompression session.

Should you invest in a foam roller?

If you are suffering from back pain, or any muscle pain, including a foam roller into your daily routine will make a huge difference. It can alleviate all of your aches and pains by providing a deep massage to your muscles, all while boosting relaxation and adding an extra element to diversify your daily exercise routine. Plus, foam rollers are inexpensive so, if you’re still on the fence, there isn’t a large buy-in to try one out today!

With regular use, your back will be healthy and pain-free in days. This inexpensive tool can be a real lifesaver, so join millions of other foam fans and start rolling today!

Editors' Recommendations