questionsdoes foam rolling work?

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Take yourself to core performance, create a login (it's free) and get loads of foam rolling goodness. To answer your question: it depends on what's wrong with your shoulder but foam rolling in and of itself is very unlikely to injure you.

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Depending on what's ailing you, yes, it absolutely works.

If it hurts like hell, then chances are you're doing it right.

To get a gauge on what "hurts like hell is," look up how to work your IT bands with a foam roll and try it yourself. :)

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I don't know what foam rolling is and I'm a bit afraid to ask after reading @justagigilo85 @zuiquan 's responses.

Maybe some things are best left mysteries ?

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It's very good for injuries and soreness, very common among runners. I don't use a foam roller personally, but instead this plastic thing (I think it's just called "The Stick" or something like that) that takes less space. I usually use it for my lower leg / shin splints.

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@ceagee: It looks stupid, feels bad, and totally works. I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever seen until I tried it just to say I'd done it. It's basically a form of deep tissue self-massage and feels amazing (after you're off the roller anyway).

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@zuiquan: Well maybe then it is worth checking out. I pay a massage therapist to inflict pain on me. Inbetween I use this wooden thing that has knobs on it and/or a tennis ball.

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@ceagee: Yeah, it's like that. Some guys do their lower back but there's a lot of people that say this is bad bad bad. Too much pressure on the discs I guess. This guy hits most of the rolls you can do.

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Update:
I have been "rolling" every day and I can say that it feels really good when Im done. The only thing I don't like is that it doesnt seem to last very long (the pain is back after a few hours) but then I just roll again and all is good :) I am going to go to the sites to find of ways of using it, I think it will help.

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@jameskrenshaw: Update: That was probably a pretty bad move right there.

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I've found that foam rolling is a good temporary relief, but you should still identify the actual cause of pain. In sports related injuries, I've torn and re-torn both of my rotator cuffs starting at a fairly young age, lol, as well as bursitis in one of them. In the case of the latter, foam rolling helped greatly, to move the blood around and help ease the pain temporarily but for the tears - I needed more focused SMR therapy as well as muscle and range of motion training to help stabilize it. foam, while helpful, wasn't the real solution.

If it's something more chronic, like arthritis, then sometimes your only choices are the temporary relief ones... but if there's an underlying cause - treat THAT, and you'll put the foam rollers away after a while :)

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@goatcrapp: I tore a rotator cuff in a fall (slipped, grabbed a chair back, went down anyway, wrenching my arm and shoulder). Troubled me a lot, greatly reduced my comfortable range of motion for about 8 months. Signed up for a kickboxing class where he would have us spend 2-3 minutes punching the bag as hard as we could with the same arm. It was agony at first, but within a month it was pretty much completely healed. I still sometimes sleep wrong and wake up with some pain, but I have the full range of motion and strength back. I didn't expect the workouts to fix it, I was just trying to lose weight and get in shape. I was pretty amazed when the pain slowly abated and was gone.

Lessons learned: Beware of Great Dane slobber, and beat something up frequently.

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@moondrake: funny - one of my tears was because of boxing lol. I was sparring too much while training, leaving little time for recovery, and as a result, my form would suffer and eventually i "punched out" my jabbing shoulder. I'm not surprised that it helped you however - since you built up the surrounding (4?) muscles that stabilize the rotator, as well as increasing the general blood flow to the area. If you're still having pain from sleeping occasionally, or barometric pressure... you might still have a tear, or one that healed with extra scar tissue/ calcium buildup, etc. Try finding a sports injury specialist who uses SMR - in my case it helped break down the scar tissue that had formed

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@zuiquan: So, just to clarify.. you don't mean that you get a free foam roller on sign-up right?

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As a personal and group trainer, I have all my clients warm up with a routine including several positions on the foam rollers. They are also encouraged to use them outside the sessions (I offer to share cost for them to get one for home). I have seen fewer injuries, performance increases and increased flexibility when they are used properly, especially in my endurance athlete clients.