Even using every precaution, injuries happen, bodies get sore, and people suffer from chronic pain. Life is too short to waste time hurting instead of enjoying your favorite physical activities. You are about to learn some techniques that you can do at home or in a fitness facility to reduce chronic pain, improve mobility and posture and limit the chances of future injuries.
SMR, self-myofascial release, is part of a corrective-exercise and injury prevention program SMR is intended to heal injured tissue, improve range of motion, and repair muscular imbalances & postural misalignment that contribute to dysfunctional movement patterns.
Foam rollers are a great tool for reducing fascial tightness.
Methods of SMR
Golf ball or tennis ball on feet: Use a golf ball or tennis ball on your feet-one of the most common musculoskeletal deviations that causes chronic pain is overpronation of the foot (when the foot arch flattens under load), (Justin Price, MA, ACE Fitness Journal May 2011). This collapsed arch leads to other areas such as the knees, ankles and hips to work harder and can lead to imbalances in any of those body parts. Rolling a golf or tennis ball under your foot for 30-60 secs/day/per foot helps reduce chronic pain and improve function.
Foam roller: Use a foam roller on your quadriceps muscles, IT band, gluteals, hamstrings, calves, and back. Anywhere you use it, you will be reducing stress, improving mobility and helping to restore proper movement patterns. Even though you may not realize it, when one area of your body can’t manage to move properly (from injury, excessive tightness, poor posture), it affects how your entire body moves. Day after day of moving in ways that compensate for lack of mobility or pain avoidance in one area of your body can increase pain in another area. Misalignment causes stress on our joints and surrounding muscle tissue. Using the foam roller is a great tool for keeping your muscles and fascia healthy and unrestricted.
Stretching: Taking all the joints through a full range of motion is great, but it is more important to spend your time stretching the areas of your body that are tightest not the ones that are already flexible. Most of us avoid stretching tight areas because it feels uncomfortable. However, stretching areas that are flexible can lead to joint instability and increased chances of injury. Tight muscles are more likely to strain or tear with sudden movements or stretches. So, while it may be uncomfortable stretching really tight muscles at first, that discomfort does not last. Spending a few minutes a day to stretch can lead to noticeable differences in tightness in as little as a week. Start with gentle stretches and take as many weeks as you need to increase your flexibility.
At-home techniques are wonderful since you can do them every single day. Frequency is important when you are trying to establish new patterns with your body. If you are someone who needs extra help to speed up the healing process, it might be time to call in a pro. We have some terrific myotherapists, body workers specializing inmyofascial release, myotherapy clinics, and rolfers in the Bay Area.
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