Do Foam Rollers Work For Back Pain?

Getting tired of back pain and sore muscles? In fact, back pain is one of the leading reasons many people miss work to go to the doctor. What if I told you Foam rollers do work for back pain, and better than anything I’ve tried?

And I’m not by myself, either. Foam rolling has become a well-known technique for muscle pain relief.

Athletes, people who exercise, do physical labor, and even office workers are learning how effective foam rollers are for back pain.

And once you find out for yourself, there’s no turning back.

No more physician and chiropractor visits for me because I can’t stand up straight.

And I’m still amazed at how much over the counter medicines I was taking. I lived with Extra Strength Tylenol, Aleve, patches, roll-ons, and hand massagers.

Now I use foam rolling techniques instead; once or twice a day when I exercise, and on the days my back has me hunched over from sitting at this desk.

Oh, what a relief it is!

Check out these foam roller reviews.

Foam rollers aren’t going to cure arthritis or a herniated disc, and that’s not the purpose.

However, they do massage muscles that are overworked, injured, or just throwing a fit.

Read on to find out what foam rolling can do for you and your back pain.

When Used Regularly Foam Rolling Can:

  • Help improve blood circulation
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Workout accumulated muscle tension
  • Relieve pain, soreness, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Increase range of motion
  • Speed up post-workout recovery

With all of that in mind, it’s important to note that while foam rollers do play an important role in back pain relief, they are no substitute for the medical profession in many cases of chronic pain.

However, they can and do help with lower and upper pain and discomfort like nothing I’ve found.

Other Back Pain Remedies

Like I said earlier, I am now able to manage and dismiss aches and pains in my back and legs that I previously had no control over at all.

Well, other than far too many over the counter pain medications.

Locating Trigger Points In Your Back

Having someone probe your back with their fingers will often reveal particularly painful spots, usually smaller than a dime.

These sore spots in your back are called trigger points.

Sometimes they are close to the surface, and sometimes they are deep. But touched and pressed, they are instantly recognizable.

Woman probing back for trigger points to massage
Woman massage therapist probing for trigger points to massage

These are points, or places, where nerves from that muscle and surrounding muscles have knotted up and become painful.

Even though the trigger point is felt in one area, it is almost always referring to problems from other areas and groups of muscles.

However, massaging these trigger points, sometimes gently, other times quite vigorously, releases the knot, tenderness, and tension which in turn relaxes the offending muscles.

Why not learn to use foam rolling techniques in the privacy of your own home instead of paying for massages or just dealing with the back pain?

Letting Foam Rollers Do The Work

To tell you the truth, there’s an assortment of tools used to get at these trigger points and release them. Some chiropractors and physical therapist even use electric apparatuses to probe them and make them relax.

Prior to discovering the value of foam rolling, I mostly used my wife.

I would try to guide her to where I thought the pain was in my back, and she would probe deep into muscles with her finger tips, until the pain was undeniably sharp.

Recognizing that as a trigger point, she would either hold firm and steady pressure on that one small spot or massage it.

Either action, depending on the circumstances, would soothe the nerves and release the knot.

That release calms and relaxes the muscles that were causing my pain.

woman using foam roller for back pain
Foam Roller Exercises For Back Pain Works

Now I merely lie with my foam roller between the floor and my back and gently massage the sore muscles myself. I find this to be a much better method, because it does a better job, eases a larger area, and is much faster.

I don’t want to stay on the actual trigger point but a few seconds, but spend a few minutes rolling and massaging all the surrounding area.

In the past, I experienced a lot of pain both in my lower and upper back region. After a workout at the gym or a run, the backs of my shoulders would ache, especially around my shoulder blades.

Now I use my foam rollers on my back for just 2-3 minutes before and after any exercise to prevent the pain from ever starting, and it works.

Foam Rolling Your Back Isn’t Medical Attention

I am obliged to remind you here, that this is not an alternative to medical attention or necessarily a permanent fix for something that needs professional help. Only you can know the difference, so use your head.

My personal and completely uneducated opinion is that if foam rolling does the job, that’s all I need?

When it comes to common back pain caused from either muscle or fascia distress, I haven’t found anything to compare. I can ease the pain and eliminate it so that I have more energy to go on with life.

They give me the opportunity to keep working, exercising, running, working out, and participating in whatever physical activity I choose.

Foam rolling can also help your posture

As it turns out, poor posture is the culprit when it comes to quite a bit of pain, soreness, and stiffness. And one of the best things you can do for posture is regular foam rolling.

good and bad posture symptoms infographic
Spine Infographic.

With regular attention, you can not only reduce back pain but flatten out rounded shoulders, re-align your spine and muscles. You will stand up straighter and reduce the pressure on your spine that causes a lot of back problems.

Between your skin and muscle is a thin tissue that encompasses your entire body known as Fascia.

You might picture it as a spiderman suit that you are wearing from head to foot. This covering sheet is real and has a blood supply and nerve endings the same as muscle. In fact, Fascia has about 6 times more nerve endings than muscles, and that’s why trigger points can occur in it the same as they do in muscle tissue.

But, that’s not all. If you can picture this suit of fascia encompassing your body, picture someone grabbing the front of it and pulling until it bends your shoulders over forward.

That’s exactly what it does to your posture over time without regular stretches for lower back pain. As it tends to shorten with a sedentary lifestyle or leaning over a desk it pulls your spine and posture over.

Regular foam rolling helps to stretch and manipulate the fascia so your posture is protected and corrected. I like the long smooth surface rollers for this technique because I can knead and stimulate the fascia from my waist to my neck in just a few minutes before I go to bed.

How Often Should I Foam Roll My Back?

For myself, how often depends on my time constraints, and when I have found it to be most beneficial. After a long day of sitting at my computer, or even standing all day with my wife at the mall, I know I’ll sleep better if I roll before bed.

However, if you are stiff when you get up in the mornings, a session first thing will refresh and limber you up.

If you regularly utilize upper back exercises in any form, you should definitely try rolling both before and after your workout sessions. You will be amazed at the newfound agility and fast recovery times afterward.

It’s important to note, that when you first start foam rolling your back if done too long or too often it could leave you with sore and tender muscles. I also advise a smooth surface device when you’re just starting out to make a big difference.

Another thing is that when you find a trigger point in your back, legs, or anywhere else, you should only roll it for a few seconds and then massage the surrounding muscles.


I can tell you that foam rollers do work for my own back pain. And that’s not all, either. For some time now I’ve thought I had bad knees. After foam rolling my back and IT Band a few times, my knee problems have disappeared?

So, I am saying that if you suffer with backaches and pain, foam rollers are something you should consider. There’s no end to the possible benefits of foam rolling to your entire body.

Whatever the case may be, if you suffer from back pain, it is definitely worth considering foam rolling as part of your plan of action. With regular use, it can offer many whole-body benefits that will have you feeling better.

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