Should you use a foam roller your lower back?
Anyone who uses a foam roller will probably have experienced their physio, osteopath, personal trainer or friends warning them to never, ever foam roll the lower back, usually indicating that there would be some indefinable dire consequence if you do so. Even if they are light on details or specifics their instincts are correct. It’s correct for virtually all foam rollers - apart from the Manta foam roller.
Low Back Pain
According to the World Health Organisation, low back pain is the leading cause of activity limitation and absence from work throughout much of the world. It is an ever growing problem and one of the leading causes why people make appointments to see their GP’s. Many people are treated with painkillers, but don’t necessarily address the root of the problem.
To find out more, visit the World Health Organisation website
The NHS recommendations for people suffering with low back pain include
Staying as active as possible.
Medication, such as painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
Hot and cold compresses.
Exercise and stretching the lower back.
Exercise and stretching the muscles of your lower back is not always easy, especially when you’re in discomfort. The Manta roller can help ease the muscular tension around the lower spine, helping to improve spinal mobility and function.
The Limitations of Other Foam Rollers
The problem with the majority of foam rollers currently available on the market, whether they’re smooth or contoured, is that they hit the spinous processes of the spine first. The spinous processes are the part of the spine that protrude the most, and you can often see and feel them running down the centre of your back. This becomes more of a problem in the lower spine because at this section of the spine the spinous process protrude the most. This means foam rollers can not come into contact with the surrounding muscles. We also have a natural inward curve there called a lordosis. This simply means the spine and spinal joints are more extended then in the mid back. If you use a foam roller on the lower spine it can compress these spinal joints by pushing them even further into extension causing irritation and pain.
The Manta Difference
The Manta foam roller is different. Due to the spinal groove it moulds around the spinous processes and reaches the incredibly important lumbar erector spinae muscles, situated either side of the spine. These postural muscles often get tight, restricting movement, compressing the spine and causing pain. Traditionally they are not an easy set of muscles to reach or stretch, so the Manta roller is an excellent tool to help massage out these tricky areas.
However, even when using the Manta roller, it’s important to use the correct technique so you avoid overextending the lower spine. Check out my demonstration video so you get the technique spot on and can loosen up your lower back safely and effectively.