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How Foam Rollers Treat Neck Pain

foam rollers for neck pain

After a car accident or workplace injury, you may end up with soft tissue damage or muscle strains that affect your entire body. One area that is particularly sensitive to injury is our neck and spine. For those who receive a whiplash injury diagnosis or other strained muscle condition in this region, anti-inflammatories and gentle rehabilitative exercises may resolve the issue.

Still, you may find yourself trying to find other ways to treat your soreness and stiffness. One method you can use on your own is foam rolling. While this is a fairly new option for those with musculoskeletal pain, it has shown itself effective for relieving painful neck spasms and knots. A New York neck injury doctor may suggest this as an alternative to taking prescription painkillers to treat injury discomfort.

Why Use a Foam Roller?

If you are currently treating a minor muscle injury due to a car accident or a related worker’s compensation accident, you risk further damage to your neck if stiffness sets in. When our bodies relax, we become more flexible, which minimizes our chances of reinjury or exacerbating things further.

A foam roller addresses this risk by gently stretching muscles that are overly stiff or frozen. For whiplash sufferers, With a foam roller, you can relax and relieve muscles, which can become very tense. As you can imagine, if you’ve suffered a neck injury from whiplash, frozen muscles are your enemy. They can dramatically increase the amount of damage done, even after the accident has occurred.

For those who have just recovered from a major spinal injury, you can increase your odds of not reinjuring yourself by using this device. Foam rollers make a great preventative option if the affected muscle group carries a risk of experiencing the same condition again. Speak with your trusted New York injury doctor about this important medical tool and if it is right for your situation.

How to Use a Foam Roller

When first using a foam roller, you might find it a little uncomfortable due to how tight the target muscle area is after an injury, so be gentle with yourself and take your time. As you use it more often, you will have the opportunity to change the intensity level according to your body’s response. Use caution if the pain is intense and dial back a bit; you don’t want to reinjure yourself, so minor discomfort should only be felt at first.

Follow these steps when using your foam roller:

  • Focus on muscle groups that are stiff or sore
  • Keep gentle control of your torso as you center the trigger points over the roller
  • Once you carefully lower yourself down to the roller, only allow so much pressure that is comfortable
  • Stay in place for about 30 seconds
  • If able, roll back and forth carefully while allowing gravity to apply pressure to the targeted region of muscles naturally
  • If you have particularly stiff areas, stop and remain in place for a few extra seconds before moving on to another group

Using a foam roller isn’t an exact science, and you may find a small amount of trial and error as you adjust your technique to fit your needs. You may realize that as you begin to heal, you might want to adjust how your body rests on the device. Also, remember to breathe as you massage out cramping knots and frozen muscles after suffering car accident injuries or hurting yourself at work. If you are having neck pain for an extended period of time visit an experienced New York neck injury doctor to see if there may be other underlying causes of your pain.