Prior Lake Chiropractic Exercises: Self-Myofascial Release (Plus Breathing "Pacer" Bonus)

Read this first!! Myofascial release is about releasing the adhesions or sticky areas between the muscles and fascia in your body.  Fascia is a connective tissue that lines your cells, muscles and organs.  When the spine goes out of balance and subluxates, it can bend, stretch and compress. This creates tension and torsion in the body's connective tissue system, especially the spine.

Prior Lake Chiropractic Exercises

Think of a bicycle tire.  If you can, imagine that the tire breaks and then folds in on itself.  The spine and pelvis make up the outer rim while the muscles, rib cage and other bones in the body are the spokes.  The fascia is what houses or lines all the spokes, and connects them to the rim of the tire (in this case your spine). 

Myofascial Release helps by reducing injury, promoting better posture and making you more flexible so your spine can heal faster and be healthier.

Keep in mind:

  • The best time for myofascial release is either before a workout or before bed.
  • Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.  Ideal is your body weight in pounds divided by two.  In ounces, this is what you should be drinking every day.
  • Never roll over any joints.
  • All holds should be for 30-60 seconds, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • For best results, myofascial release should be performed every day for at least five minutes.

Chest (Part 1 of 3)

Chest (Part 2 of 3)

Chest (Part 3 of 3)

Myofascial Release for Chest
  1. Place tennis ball under the side-most attachment of involved pectoral muscles.
  2. Extend involved arm to the side, palm down.
  3. Use opposite hand or elbow for support.
  4. Turn head away from involved side.
  5. Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.
Myofascial Release for Chest Wall
Alternatively, can be done against wall

Upper Back (Part 1 of 3)

Upper Back Part 1A

1.  Hips and feet remain on the floor.

2.  Foam roll is placed at the mid-back as shown above.

3.  Hands support the head.

4.  Gently rock back as shown below (the foam roll does not move).

5.  Repeat 10 times.

Upper Back Part 1B

Upper Back (Part 2 of 3)

Upper Back Part 2A
  1.  Begin with A) your feet flat on the floor; B) knees bent; and C) foam roll at the top of your back.
  2. Cross arms over chest.
  3. Slowly extend your legs and roll towards the head end as pictured below (keep your back straight and do not roll into the lower back section).
  4. Repeat 10 times.
Upper Back Part 2B

Upper Back (Part 3 of 3)

Upper Back Part 3

1.  Place tennis ball between shoulder blade and spine as shown.

2.  Shrug shoulders forward in order to “open” the muscles between the shoulder blade and spine.

3.  Roll up and down and side to side on the ball until the most sensitive/tight area is found.  Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Lat Dorsi

Lat Dorsi
  1.  Lay on your side as shown.
  2. The foam roll should be placed so it touches your inner arm, but the pressure is applied to the shoulder blade area.
  3. Involved arm’s hand faces up.
  4. For additional stretch, may slide involved side hand and arm upward toward the head, and rotate trunk forward or backward.
  5. Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Glutes

Glutes with Foam Roller

1.  Begin with both feet and hands on the floor.

2.  Sit on the foam roller and roll back and forth a couple times to establish balance.

3.  Cross one leg over the other as shown.

4.  Roll back and forth on the foam roller while rocking your hips side to side until you find the most sensitive/tight area. 

5.  Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.  

Glutes with Tennis Ball
Can also be done with Tennis Ball for more specificity

IT Bands (Iliotibial Bands)

IT Band 1
  1. Involved side leg is straight as shown.
  2. Bend support leg to 90 degrees, with the foot flat on the floor.  Use elbow and hand to support as shown above.
  3. Rotate your trunk and glide yourself up and down on the foam roll with assistance of support leg as shown below.
  4. Gradually roll up on the foam roll so the foam roll moves down the leg.  Focus on the sensitive/tight area and hold for 30-60 seconds on each leg.
  5. For additional tension & release, you may bend involved leg at the knee. 
IT Band 2
In the beginning you, may only make it a couple inches below your waistline.  This is fine, just pick up where you left off the next time. 

Hip Flexors

Hip Flexor Diagram
  1. With your fingertips, locate either side ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) in the front of the pelvis as shown above.
  2. Along the ridge of the ASIS and below is where you will be focusing on. 
  3. Use your forearms, toes, and involved side knee for support.
  4. Slowly roll up on the foam roll (so the foam roll moves downward on your body, no more than a couple inches).
  5. Rotate hips to find the most sensitive/tight area and hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.
Hip Flexor 2

Quadriceps

Quadriceps
·         The single leg position helps you pinpoint more specific hidden areas in your quadriceps that need to release.
  1. Place the foam roller under one of your thighs as shown.
  2. Use the opposite knee for support.
  3. Roll back and forth on the foam roll while rotating your hips in and out, finding the most sensitive/tight area. 

Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Hamstrings

Hamstrings
·         The single leg position helps you pinpoint more specific hidden areas in your hamstrings that need to release.
  1. Place the foam roller under one of your thighs as shown.
  2. Use opposite leg for support.
  3. Roll back and forth on the foam roll while rotating your hips in and out, finding the most sensitive/tight area.

           Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Calves (Part 1 of 2)

Calves Part 1A
·         The single leg position helps you pinpoint more specific hidden areas in your calves that need to release.
  1. Place the foam roller under one of your calves as shown.
  2. Use opposite leg for support.
  3. Roll back and forth on the foam roll while rotating involved leg in and out, finding the most sensitive/tight area.

           Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Calves Part 1B
For additional release, you may cross uninvolved leg over involved leg as shown

Calves (Part 2 of 2)

Calves Part 2A
  1.  Place tennis ball on the floor under one of the calves as shown.
  2. Move your leg side to side as you feel for the most sensitive/tight area.
  3. May bend knee up to 90 degrees as shown below to release the sides of the calf muscle.

Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Calves Part 2B

Feet

Foot
*May do while seated in chair for more downward pressure.
**May also use a golf ball or similar hard object to achieve a deeper release.
  1. Place tennis ball under foot between the heal and ball of your foot as shown
  2. Move your foot along the ball until you find the most sensitive/tight area.  Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Breathing Pacer Video

We touched on the importance of breathing properly during these exercises. Remember, holding your breath inhibits proper oxygenation to the tissues and that's the very thing that we want to improve - getting O2 to the tissues that have been distorted - oftentimes from sitting at a desk all day. Here's the video below. Note that there are special sections based on your height.

Learn More

Remember, distortions to the body's connective tissue framework are an adaptation to a bigger cause. Just like the alignment on a car, it's important to get the alignment fixed before exerting the body and starting a new exercise plan, including performing these foam roller exercises.

To learn more about our chiropractic method, please visit NUCCA.org. To schedule a free consult with Dr. Pietrek over the phone or in person, please contact us here.

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