How To Use The Foam Roller For Your Lower Back


This article will discuss how to use the foam roller for pain and tightnesses in the lower back area. If you have tightnesses in the myofascial structures (muscles and fascia) this post will discuss the best exercises to utilise in order to mobilise these tight tissues. As is usual, before we get into the best rehabilitation exercises for lower back first we need to discuss the relative anatomy and some causes of pain.

What Can Cause Back Pain?

There are a number of causes or sources for pain felt in the lower back region. These anatomical sources of pain can include:

  • The Disc
  • The Joints (commonly termed facet joints)
  • The Muscles (from strains to active trigger points/tightnesses)
  • The Nerves
  • Pain referral from other parts of the body

Now, back pain is a very, very complex condition and it often takes more than just the foam roller to fully alleviate back pain. However, many back pain experts, including specialists, physiotherapists and chiropractors, would agree that myofascial tightnesses and overactive back muscles will contribute to pain and prolong back problems. This is why appropriate myofascial release can assist the person with back pain. We will now discuss what muscles should be released.

The Lower Back Muscles

If you are someone who suffers from lower back pain, the main muscles that you may benefit from self myofascial release are:

  • Erector Spinae Muscles (the big muscle mass either side of the spine)
  • Thoracolumbar Fascia (seen on the diagram)
  • Gluteus Maximus and other muscles at the back of the hip (these are the hip rotators)
  • Hamstrings (back of thighs)
  • Quadriceps (front of thighs – particularly Rectus Femoris)

Foam Roller Exercises For Low Back Pain – Video Example

Below is a good video example which shows the main musculature that should be released.

What Size Should I Use For My Back Pain?

The most effective types for low back pain are:

  • Long
  • Long Thera-Roll
  • EPP
  • Medium

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