5 Foam Roller Stretches You Need To Know About If Your Back Is Always Sore
Dealing with a perpetually sore back can be uncomfortable as hell. Whether you're going super hard with deadlifts in the gym, or your spine insists on holding onto all the stress from your day, soothing those knotted muscles is not an easy task. But a few simple foam roller stretches can definitely loosen up all that tension when you feel like you're paralyzed in pain.
If you're not familiar with them, foam rollers are long, cylindrical objects that basically allow you to reap all the benefits of a deep-tissue massage without having to splurge on the money for one. Foam-rolling soothes your muscles through something called myofascial release, which is basically just a fancy way to describe a self-massage that targets specific pressure points in your body to release tension. While it's definitely a great way to massage your aching muscles, foam-rolling is also a generally awesome tool to add to your routine to encourage muscle recovery in your workout regimen.
So, the next time your back is acting up and confining you to your couch, skip the overpriced massage at the spa and ditch those over-the-counter painkillers that you know won't work anyway. Whip out a foam roller instead, and try flowing through these five restorative stretches for a sore back.
1. A Nourishing Neck Stretch
If you experience back pain on the reg, it could be linked to tension in your neck. Foam-rolling this area is a surefire way to relieve tension literally from your head down to your toes.
Remember that your neck is a very delicate area, so be sure to exercise caution when you're just starting out. Begin slowly, and don't apply too much pressure at first. Roll back and forth over your neck and upper shoulders, applying more pressure as you see fit.
Make sure to listen to your body so you can learn how to differentiate between an uncomfortable stretch that you should work through, and actual pain that's telling you to stop.
2. A Soothing Shoulder-Opener
Foam-rolling your shoulder blades will provide an amazing upper back stretch, and it can even relieve any tightness lingering in your neck, as well.
Your upper back and shoulders are actually sturdy AF, so feel free to apply as much pressure here as your heart desires, as long as you haven't sustained any actual injuries to these areas recently.
Fair warning, you might feel — and hear — a few cracks, but personally, that's actually my favorite part, because its let me know that my trusty, cylindrical companion is doing its damn job.
3. A Luscious Lower Back Release
Lower back pain is brutal, especially when it happens during your period. Like, I'm sorry, I already have PMS and cramps to deal with, now my back has to be on fire, too? Thanks a lot, Mother Nature. Thankfully, your foam roller is here to rescue you and relieve that lumbar tension ASAP.
Foam-rolling your lower back will require you to draw one knee into your chest, while you use your other foot to provide movement for that quality myofascial release.
Once you perform one side for about a minute, make sure to balance out the stretch by taking hold of the opposite knee and repeating on the other side of your body.
4. A Calming Chest Extension
If your back is constantly sore and tight, it might actually be because your chest muscles are tense. This can be because of prolonged sitting, generally poor posture, or even hunching over your phone too much — basically modern-day life in a nutshell, amirite?
Set some time aside to foam-roll your chest muscles to provide relief all the way down your back. This stretch might feel a little too intense at first, but once you get used to it, you'll probably wonder how you lived without this stretch up until now.
5. Some Heavenly Hip Flexor Relief
Again, if you're experiencing an annoyingly achy lower back, it might not be originating in that part of the body at all. Tight hip flexors are actually one of the main causes of lower back pain, and stretching them properly is the key to relief.
Slowly roll forward and backward over your front-body, breathing evenly as you relax your pelvis and the muscles surrounding it.
Feeling better yet?