Personally, I feel that back pain is the bane of human existence. It is also sad that this kind of pain is linked to our age. One year you are a bouncing ball of energy. The next year, everything creaks. Science tells us that this is the process. Medicine tells us we don’t have to deal with the pain. These foam roller back stretches take all the pain away.
The great thing about the foam roller back stretch exercises that I am about to share with you is that it is effective for whatever level of back pain you are in. Whether your back pain is chronic or acute, it does not have to get in the way of your cycling routine.
Do these foam roller back pain management techniques for a few days and you can get back on the pedal comfortably. But before that, let do a quick history on why foam roller back stretches are good for back pain.
Understanding Your Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by anything from poor posture to an underlying medical condition. Participating in most physical sports can also make you prone to back pain. And as a cyclist you are in this group too. But that doesn’t mean you should quit cycling as there are several benefits. We just need to know our bodies better.
Without getting too technical about the subject, if you are having a persistent pain in your upper back, middle back and lower back and this pain is interfering in your everyday routine, you are having back pain. And while this is definitely not a medical journal, you need to have an understanding of the pain in order to effectively manage it. So, let us look at it closely.
Upper Back Pain:
This is pain experienced anywhere between the base of your neck and the base of your ribcage. People who have pain in this region describe it as a sharp pulling sensation.
Middle Back Pain:
Your middle back shares boundaries with your upper back but the pain here is isolated to your thoracic spine. From my personal experience, I would say that the pain felt more like a stabbing pain.
Lower Back Pain:
This is the most common form of back pain. The pain is experienced in the area from the bottom of the rib cage to your pelvis or what the guys in the white coat like to call the lumbar region.
How to Manage Back Pain
The management of your back pain depends on the severity of it. Sometimes your back pain can resolve on its own (as it often does in the case of lower back pain) but in some cases, you would need surgery to fix the problem. But before you get anywhere under the knife, let us look at some of the effective ways to manage lower back pain.
1. Getting a massage
A licensed therapist can manipulate the area of your back to provide relief from the pain even on your first day. This is not a one-time thing though. You would need a back-massage treatment consistently over a period of time to see any lasting results.
You would think that back pain would automatically mean bed rest, but no. Doctors say that bed rest can only make your back pain worse. That said, don’t do anything over the top. Swimming, gentle working and a little yoga stretch can help facilitate healing.
3. Foam roller back stretches
And now, we have come to the reason we are on this page in the first place. Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release and the purpose of it is to loosen up those tight muscles that brought up the pain in the first place. It also helps to improve the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid. All of this can contribute in fixing the pain.
3 Foam Roller Back Stretch Exercises to Try Today
These exercises I am listing here are foam roller techniques that are designed to target the three back pain regions that I mentioned earlier. These are very basic techniques but if you want something a bit more complex, check this video for guided illustration.
Exercise 1: Reach to the Sky
This exercise targets the muscles in the upper back. All you need is a foam roller and a mat.
- Lay the foam roller vertical and position yourself on it so that your head is lying on one end of the mat and your butt on the other end
- Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle with your feet firmly placed on the floor.
- Extend your left hand toward the sky/ceiling and spread your fingers as you stretch the hand
- Keep your right elbow firmly pressed to the floor and squeeze your right shoulder as you left hand stretches
- Hold this position for a few seconds and then switch sides
Exercise 2: Cactus Arms
Now this foam roller stretch technique targets the chest region, and this is where you experience lower back pain.
- Again, position the foam roller vertically and lay your back on it in such a way that it supports your head and your hips
- Stretch out your arms sideways and bend them at 90 degrees angle keeping your elbows on the floor and fingers pointing upwards.
- Inhale with deep breaths and then exhale. As you exhale, let your arms drop back to the floor.
- Rest for a few seconds and then repeat.
Exercise 3: Lower Back Massage
As the name implies, this is one of the foam roller back stretches that employs the hand massage technique to massage your lower back. Only in this case, the foam roller is doing the massage.
- Lay the foam roller horizontally and then position yourself on it in such a way that the bone at the center of your pelvis directly on it.
- Bend your knees and then draw both knees towards your chest
- With your hands on your shins, roll your body to the right.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and then roll to your left
- Repeat these slow pace turns for 30 seconds. You have done a full set. Repeat as desired
Top 3 Foam Rollers for Maximum Results
Now that you know how to manage your pain, let us get the next thing on your to-do list: getting the best products for your foam roller back stretch exercise.
1. Amazon Basics High Density Round Foam Roller
This one is a mouthful to say but it is super useful for helping you fix that back pain. If you want a foam roller that can accommodate your budget and body size, this is the one for you. I love it for the following reasons;
- It is very light but durable enough to withstand moderately heavy use
- It is extra firm and sturdy
- It comes in various sizes for different body types
2. LuxFit Foam Roller
If you want to get in some deep tissue massage after a high interval workout session, this is the one to go with. People use it to target various muscles in the body, but it is also excellent for back pain. Here is why you should go for it;
- It is low budget but high performance
- It is made from molded polypropylene which means it retains its shape even after use
- It is available in 4 different sizes
3. Rumbled Roller Textured Muscle Foam Roller
This foam roller combines the benefits of a foam roller and a professional deep tissue massage therapist and it is perfect if you are having moderate to chronic back pain. It comes with a hefty price tag, but it is worth it for the following reasons;
- It has specially designed surface bumps
- It is waterproof and non-absorbent so don’t worry about your sweat
- It comes in 3 size ranges that can adapt to any lifestyle
Foam Roller for Back Pain and Stiffness
Foam roller back stretches provide point of pain therapy that reduces your need for other kinds of pain therapy. So, there really is no need for you to continue living in pain. Treat yourself to one of these and get back to cycling without pain. These stationary bikes are perfect for cycling while recuperating from back pain.
More Biking Recommendations
For more recommendations on staying fit check out, How Many Calories Exercise Bike Burn: Ways to Burn More, Does Cycling In the Heat Burn More Calories? and 8 Health Benefits of Cycling That Improves Your Life.