Something so simple, yet so effective! The foam roller is a great tool in physical therapy and general fitness. It is personally one of my favorite pieces of equipment to improve posture and alleviating neck, shoulder and upper back pain. The number of exercises that can be performed on these rollers are endless. They vary in length, diameter, material, color and firmness. Using a roller breaks up fibrous tissue and boosts circulation so you're less sore making it a cheap alternative to other forms of therapy while assisting in recovery from intense workouts. I've posted an article in the past about shoulder pain resulting from muscular imbalance which you can read here. If you feel that you fit into this category or if you find yourself sitting at your desk job all day this exercise is for you!
This is the "anti" rounded posture exercise and takes the strain off of the neck and shoulders that you feel all day. Do not push into pain when bringing your arms upward and try to keep the backs of your hands on the floor. You will need a roller that is long enough to perform this exercise, 6x36" seems to be the standard. You can find one in the 850HealthStore for around $15. The problem with the cheaper version is that they will start to flatten out from use. If you plan on using it frequently, you may look into spending a little extra and purchase one with plastic reinforcement. There are so many variations now that you can Google "foam roller" and find hundreds of choices. I have the Grid as part of my living room decor and use it frequently to loosen my thoracic spine and free up tight musculature. One of the exercises that I perform at home include the one shown below. You can roll up and down and massage your thoracic spine and shoulders. The Grid works great because of its firmness and ridges that act to massage the musculature while mobilizing a tight thoracic spine.
Find the Grid here...
There are hundreds of exercises that you can perform to better yourself. You can search the internet for exercises that are more specific to your needs and even YouTube them for demonstration! I hope this helps!
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Dr. Mark Giovanini
Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.